I studied at Olchfa Comprehensive School in South Wales before taking a gap year and then going to the University of Exeter, where I studied BA French and Spanish. In 2009, I attended the University of Bristol to complete a PGCE in Modern Foreign Languages since I have always had a passion for languages and having worked abroad both in France, Spain and more recently South America, I decided that I wanted to share my passion and love for languages with others.
Carmen Garcia was my main tutor at the university. She attended my school placements where I was assessed and we worked closely together, she provided me with excellent guidance and ideas on my teaching. I thought we had many excellent speakers from throughout the UK on the PGCE. I also thoroughly enjoyed the media and film aspect of the course in which we were able to develop our confidence when using ICT within the classroom. We also had the opportunity to make a film which I have been able to use in many of my lessons and the students have enjoyed.
We had the opportunity to create our own Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) projects and share these in another school in Bristol. Parts of these activities were filmed and used in teaching forums in order to share good practice. I have taken many of these ideas into my current school and they have been very successful and I will continue to incorporate CLIL activities within our planned schemes of work.
I feel I have gained a lot of confidence on the PGCE at Bristol which has enabled me to get where I am today. All the tutors provided us with excellent training, support and encouraged us to get involved with all aspects of school life which enabled us to develop as well-rounded practitioners. The tutors were truly inspiring and I think the course was a very worthwhile experience through which I have also made many strong relationships.
After graduating in 2009 I moved to Barnstaple to complete my NQT year in my second placement at Pilton Community Language College. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience there but sadly had to leave after one year as I was covering a maternity contract for another colleague. I taught at two other schools before starting at my current school – Park Community School. I started in September 2012 and in March 2013 I started my new role as Second in Department. I was really pleased to gain more responsibility fairly early on in my teaching career. I am enjoying my new responsibilities and have been involved my primary liaison, CLIL activities as well as helping to organise a French trip at the end of the Summer Term.
I would advise students starting out on a teaching career that planning is crucial and resources take time to make and prepare at the beginning of the course. However, as the years go by it does get much easier as you’ve already taken the time to create these for many of your lessons which you can reuse. Also, ensure you have a healthy life balance – at first there is a great deal of work and information to digest but it is really important you continue to exercise and take time for yourself too in order to relax and do the best you can in your job.
I am keen to gain more experience working abroad, perhaps in South America and experience secondary education there. This is something which I will be enquiring about but I plan to stay on in my current school for a least another year to gain more experience in my new role as second in department. I thoroughly enjoyed my teaching and learning experience at Bristol and feel like I grew in confidence throughout the course, enabling me to get where I am today.