I did my undergraduate degree at Warwick University. I was doing that in law, so I’ve got a law degree.
I always remember how much I loved my history lessons. An office job wasn’t for me and I wanted to get out so I went back to my old secondary school and did some work experience and talked to the teachers there. I just decided from my first year of university that I want to be a history teacher at a secondary school. It was my history teacher and the way she was with me; the way she pushed me to do my best and she made the lessons really engaging and she actually made a difference in my life and I wanted to do that for other people.
I looked at the academic side of it and Bristol was really academic and just the city is really nice as well. I really didn’t like to leave home because I’m from Birmingham and it was a big step. But I read about the course and when I came for interview I met Jane and everyone and they were really warm and really nice. Just looking at the city and the University is really well known and it’s one of the top universities and I thought this is the place to be.
I was a bit apprehensive. I didn’t want to leave my family but coming to the course the tutors are amazing. The tutors are like your parents. The support you get at the university is really good. The facilities that you get and the access you get to different articles online is really nice.
It’s exceeded my expectations. I never thought I would have done my placements at schools and had the support and be the teacher I am now, before the course. I didn’t know anything about teaching. I didn’t know any of the terms and how to engage pupils. If it wasn’t for coming to study
at Bristol I wouldn’t have done that, even if I had gone to a different university I wouldn’t have got the experience I have had being at Bristol.
The link that the university has with the schools is so important and if I am struggling my school tutor would contact my university tutor straight away. My university tutor would contact me to ask me if I’m OK. It’s that element of care that they have for you. You are not just ‘oh a PGCE student that is going to come and go’. They actually do care about you and want you to do well in your professional development, because that is what they are there for. They are not there to use you: ‘oh you can teach a lesson’. They actually care about you and invest the time in you.
We have had so many sessions on interviews and how to be a good teacher. The school placement was just diamond to me. My associate tutor was amazing, she helped me to be the teacher that I am now and I will take that to my new school now. They helped me with the interview prep and the letters and any applications that you want to do - they really invest the time in you: the ideas that they give you, the flexibility to teach in your own style. Well my placement school did and now I have experimented with different teaching styles and I know what teaching style I’m going to take to my new school. Resources, sharing resources with my course mates, bringing up new ideas – that is really what I am going to take, that whole how to be a really good teacher and engage your pupils, no matter what school you got to. So I think that is really important.
That is one thing that the University has taught us to do is to how to differentiate between different types of pupils and include all pupils in the learning. They have made us aware of what Ofsted want in a lesson and the schools do that as well. So I think it goes hand in hand with what the schools telling you, what the University is teaching you and then what you are actually seeing in the school.
I’m actually shocked at myself. I made a real connection with the kids at the school so I keep in contact with them and my tutor at the school and she is always saying the kids miss you. It’s just really nice having my University tutor supporting me throughout the whole placement. So it was amazing.