School of Education
   
   
  

Modern Languages Student Profiles

Martin Fiddimore

Martin Fiddimore

PGCE Modern Languages 2013/14

Despite the fact that I had always wanted to teach, the opportunity to do this only came later in life. I had worked in financial services in the UK and then in Europe for 24 years, the last 11 of which I had been living in Germany running a corporate business. 

I decided that life is too short to want to do something and never try it out and so, throwing caution to the wind, I resolved to train to teach languages.

My university qualifications are in areas other than languages so I contacted the University before applying who confirmed that there is scope for considering applicants from different backgrounds. As you can imagine, it was a big change to pack up our life in Germany and to move back to the UK to start the PGCE at Nottingham.

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I found the course invigorating and inspiring from the start, with an excellent blend of theory and practice as well as the opportunity to work with other PGCE students from different subject disciplines across a range of topics. The course also provided focused sessions on specific areas, such as the use of technology, which has inspired me to use videos, audios and other online resources in my teaching. For example, on placement I made a video of myself dressed up as a spy talking to the camera which really engaged the class!

Having lived in Germany, I can bring a wide range of cultural points into the lessons which the pupils love as it really brings language learning to life. This can be small things such as Germans rapping their knuckles on the table rather than clapping to show appreciation or when teaching a unit on the world of work I used extracts from the Bundesagentur für Arbeit website (Department for Employment). It is amazing how engaging pupils find this.

The school placements provide a really strong basis on which to develop your emerging teaching skills and the mentors I worked with were tirelessly supportive. In one of my schools I was encouraged to teach lessons in the special education needs unit which I found fascinating and a real eye-opener. Later in the placement I was also able to draw on my management background and I taught some business studies classes.

I start teaching at Bluecoat Academy in September and am really looking forward to it. Bluecoat is one of the schools that Modern Languages PGCE students train in for their placements so I know I will be well looked after in my NQT year and beyond.

I am now coming to end of the course and I can highly recommend the PGCE programme at the University of Nottingham. The blend of theory and practice, the focus on relevant specific areas, the incredible support provided by the team of University tutors and school mentors all provide a first class springboard into a teaching career.

 
 

Shane Higgins

Shane Higgins

PGCE Modern Languages 2013/14

Current position: French and Russian teacher i/c KS3 Modern Foreign Languages at Sir Robert Pattinson School

I qualified from the PGCE at the University of Nottingham two years ago and I was appointed at the school where I completed my teaching practice. Two years on and I am still here - I am in charge of KS3 Modern Foreign Languages. Alongside classroom duties, my role is to enthuse, encourage and promote languages from the moment our students arrive. The role is very demanding but is equally as rewarding! Every day brings new challenges which are reflected within my job.

The PGCE at the University of Nottingham allowed me to discover what sort of teacher I wanted to be. It gave me the skills needed to reflect, assess and deliver lessons accordingly. The support network is second to none - and ensures that all trainee teachers receive the advice and information they need.

We aim to give our learners exactly this and to provide an authentic experience within the classroom and out of it. The school runs a yearly trip to France and we have just come back from the trip I organised to Moscow...seeing the students' faces when they saw Red Square, or ordered their own blini was an unforgettable experience! We aim to create lifelong memories and a lifelong passion for languages.  

The University of Nottingham is an exceptional place to kick start your career - and harness a lifelong desire for learning and teaching.

 

Jessica Swainston

Jessica Swainston

PGCE Modern Languages 2012/13

I've wanted to be a languages teacher since the age of 16 so I applied for the PGCE course as soon as I could.

I studied French and German at university and at the beginning of the fourth year when all my friends were applying for graduate schemes and internships, my sole aim was to get a place on this course. My BA was also from the University of Nottingham and as I'd had such a positive experience as an undergraduate, I decided to stay here as a postgraduate too!

Originally, I wanted to become a teacher because I was fortunate enough to have some brilliant teachers at school who really inspired me and I wanted to be like them. Language teaching, in particular, always attracted me because I was fascinated by the idea that a classroom in an old mining town (Kirkby-in-Ashfield in my case!) could become a portal to Europe and beyond. 

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As I knew I wanted to become a teacher I got as much experience as I could by taking part in the Student Associates Scheme through my university and by spending part of my year abroad working as an English Language Assistant in Moulins, France. These experiences made me realise that although I love my subject, my main reason for wanting to be a teacher is actually that I love working with young people and helping them to learn about languages and the world around them.

The course itself has been really enjoyable and the time has just flown by! I found the design of the course to be very helpful with a good balance of time spent in university learning from our tutors, and time spent in schools putting theory into practice and learning from our colleagues (and our pupils!).

There have also been plentiful opportunities to get involved in enrichment activities. For example, I've been part of the Special Educational Needs Interest Group this year and as such I have been able to spend time in a local special school and in a residential school for boys with emotional and behavioural difficulties. I've also been involved in a penpal project with PGCE students in Kenya and Tanzania and it's been really interesting to share ideas and compare our experiences.

Now that I've qualified as a teacher, I'm finally able to realise the dreams of my 16-year-old self as in September I'll be starting my career as a French teacher at The Redhill Academy in Arnold. I've already spent a few months in the school as I completed my main teaching placement there and I learned a great deal during that time. Now I'm looking forward to going back in September and taking full responsibility for my own classes, my own form group and my own classroom!

 
 

Tim Bradley

Tim Bradley

PGCE Modern Languages 2012/13

Current position: Teacher of French and Spanish and Head of KS3 Spanish

I am currently in my third year at Littleover Community School (LCS). During my NQT year, I further developed various skills which I had learnt during my time at the University of Nottingham. In my first year of teaching, I taught Key Stage 3 and two Key Stage 4 classes in both French and Spanish.

Both Year 10 classes presented different challenges such as stretching the more able pupils and also dealing with a number of pupils with a variety of issues away from the classroom, however I definitely did smile before Christmas! It's a very quick learning curve and I employed lots of strategies to cope with both classes, unfortunately some of these didn’t work, but you must remain positive and do seek advice from colleagues to 'win over' the pupils.

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During my second year, I took on two more KS4 classes and I re-used resources from my first year. Don't reinvent the wheel, adapt colleagues' resources to suit your classes' needs, it's much easier and quicker! I am extremely lucky to work in a department that regularly shares good practice and I would really encourage you to share any useful websites/resources with your colleagues.

This year I have taught AS level Spanish and will take them through to A2 level. I also took on the role of Head of KS3 French which involves setting up the French Spelling Bee competition, sorting out the Year 7's second language choices, creating assessments in line with the new GCSE and progress sheets. During my time at LCS, I have also been on several trips to France, Spain and Germany which I have thoroughly enjoyed!

I would definitely recommend the Nottingham PGCE to anyone considering entering the teaching profession! 

 
 

Eva Vincente

Eva Vicente

PGCE Modern Langauges 2002/03

Current position: Head of Modern Languages at Rushcliffe School

I am Head of Languages at Rushcliffe School a large comprehensive school in Nottingham. The Modern Languages Faculty has a long track-record of outstanding results at GCSE and A level.

Having moving from Spain in 1998 I gained extensive experience in teaching languages in a diverse range of secondary schools prior to completing my PGCE at the University of Nottingham. This gave me a head start into my teacher training, from which I gained strong pedagogical foundations.

I firmly believe in the benefits of learning a language from an early age. Therefore I have led the establishment of a close partnership with our Primary Family of Schools to ensure a more effective transition from KS2 to KS3. Passionate about the cultural value of languages to open minds and broaden horizons, the Modern Languages Faculty at Rushcliffe has developed international links and uses an integrated cultural language approach to teaching. In addition to well-established trips and exchanges abroad, this includes a cross-curricular project that culminates in 'Esperanza' a community festival to support a school in Guatemala.  

Combining my day-to-day teaching job with my role as a part-time associate tutor at the University of Nottingham revives my passion for language teaching, whilst allowing me to share first-hand classroom experience with likeminded university colleagues and trainees.

 

Mike Davie

Mike Davie

PGCE Modern Languages 2001/02

I graduated from the University of Nottingham, School of Education in June 2002 having completed the PGCE in Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) and, by this time, had already secured my first teaching role at West Park School in Derby (where I completed my second teaching practice placement).  

I was given fantastic support from the University throughout my PGCE and this really helped me focus my mind on the successful completion of my NQT year. However, I have always been an ambitious and driven individual and, at the end of my NQT year, I was given the opportunity to develop my skills with pastoral responsibility.

I remained at West Park for five years, in which time I experienced further leadership responsibility becoming second i/c MFL in my third year and then Head of ICT during the two following years.

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In 2007, I was drawn back to what is my passion - languages. I joined Arnold Hill School in September 2007 as Head of Modern Foreign Languages and spent three years in this role - a role that I enjoyed thoroughly and which prepared me very well for the next development in my career.

In September 2010, I joined Merrill College (as it was then) as Assistant Principal with responsibility for data and outcomes as part of a new leadership team for the school. I spent two years in this role before becoming Vice Principal and then Headteacher in April 2015.

Since April 2016, I have been the Executive Headteacher of Derby College Education Trust, a multi-academy trust that sponsors Merrill Academy, allowing me to continue to work with the staff and students of Merrill Academy whilst taking on responsibility for the further development of the trust.

 
 

Natalie Campbell

Natalie Campbell

PGCE Modern Languages 2000/01

Current position: Subject Manager for Spanish at Trinity College

Natalie completed her PGCE at the University of Nottingham in 2001. She taught Spanish and French to GCSE at an inner city school in Derby for ten years and was Head of Year there for nine years. She then became Subject Manager for Spanish at the Trinity Catholic School in Nottingham in 2011.

She now teaches Spanish to A level and believes strongly in the use of technology to empower reluctant speakers. She was selected as an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2015 and is an active member of the global ADE community, sharing her research and ideas.

She was given the Association of Language Learning Secondary Language Teacher of the Year award in 2016. Her creative use of technology and work training colleagues gained her these two accolades. Natalie is currently a Director of Learning and her action research projects include effective staff training with new technology and Flipped Learning. 

Natalie has been a PGCE mentor for beginning teachers for the University of Nottingham since 2012 and regularly contributes to the School of Education Language Education Research Group and the Modern Languages Subject Advisory Group.

 

 

 

  

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