a centenary
of Learning

  • 28
  • by Teodora Valkanova
  • graduated 2012
  • studied MEd in Psychology of Education
  • from Bulgaria

I felt empowered to follow my own interests, rely on my own reasoning and be critical about scientific information by looking for supporting evidence.

I had a BA in Psychology (including a psychology teaching qualification) before I started studying for the MEd Psychology of Education at the Graduate School of Education. I studied the Master’s because I am interested in a variety of careers that this subject is related to, such as being a psychologist, working in education or research.

The good reputation of the university and the BPS accreditation of the course were two of the main reasons for choosing to study at Bristol. Other important factors were the fact that my fiancé already lived there at the time and the vibrant atmosphere and lifestyle that the city of Bristol offers.

I think that all tutors at Bristol had an influence on me . They were very approachable and ready to give me honest and constructive feedback, which helped me gradually improve over time and get excellent results in the end. I felt empowered to follow my own interests, rely on my own reasoning and be critical about scientific information by looking for supporting evidence and alternative views and findings.

I studied the MEd part-time over two years. Meanwhile, I also worked part-time as a support worker in a special needs school in Bristol. I did not spend all my time at university but I felt that I met a lot of people in both my years of study. Colleagues came from all round the world and it was always incredibly interesting to share about our cultures, educational systems and psychology. Everyone was very friendly. Two of the most interesting group projects I took part in was a study on teachers' perceptions of educational psychologists in my first year and a short film, about the life of a man with bulimia, which we made as a part of a presentation on eating disorders amongst men.

At the moment I am working full time as an Early Years Practitioner in a small private nursery full time, which I started only a week after I submitted my dissertation. The work is very interesting and rewarding and I feel like I have learned a lot about young children, myself as a teacher and effective and positive ways to contribute to children's learning and development through it.

My knowledge of psychology and the academic and reasoning skills that I have acquired through my studies are very useful in my work with children. Moreover, my degree opens more doors for me if I wish to develop my career further. I could qualify as an educational or clinical psychologist or do research. My qualification is highly valued in the educational field, which is an excellent addition to my teaching qualification.

Considering the current job market, I think that my future plans need to have a focus and still be flexible. Therefore, I am not setting only one career goal for myself but have several options I would be happy with instead. At the end of the summer I will leave the nursery and start working as a supply teacher in schools and colleges. Eventually, I plan to start teaching A level psychology in colleges or early years in primary schools, depending on what positions I manage to get. Within the schools I would be interested in obtaining SENCO and pastoral care responsibilities. Later, I might decide to qualify as an Educational Psychologist. Other options that I would consider, if for some reason my plan to work in education does not workout, are working as a research assistant or working as an assistant psychologist.

I think that practical experience is crucial in the field of psychology. I would recommend young people to try to work in the fields they are interested in as early as possible, either by getting a part-time job or by volunteering. This will enrich their knowledge, enhance their confidence, help them make a more informed career choice and increase their prospects of getting a better job in the future.

It has been an interesting, challenging and rewarding journey and I appreciate the opportunities I have for the future.