Initial Teacher Education

Primary Initial Teacher Education Student Profiles

Click on the links below to view profiles.

 

Ifeoma Uchendi, PGCE graduateIfeoma Uchendi

Graduated 2021/22

Ifeoma studied both her undergraduate and postgraduate degree in microbiology in her home country, Nigeria. She wanted a profession that would allow her to share her knowledge and add value and became a lecturer. However her passion for lecturing was not as she thought and she decided she wanted to teach, gaining a job teaching science in a primary school. She had been teaching for five years before starting the PGCE! Having completed the teacher training, Ifeoma will now be starting a new teaching job in Surrey.

Ifeoma says:

Becoming a teacher

The drive and passion for adding knowledge to children and seeing their academics and well-being improve, made me want to be a teacher. Being a teacher implied that I had the privilege of laying the foundation of knowledge, moulding lives and becoming a part of shaping their destinies. Teaching made me genuinely happy. 

Choosing the University of Nottingham

After teaching for five years in Nigeria, I was hungry for the right experience and training to make me suitable to teach globally. I needed a university competent enough to equip me, and the University of Nottingham was one of the best top 10 universities for the PGCE course. 

University-based academic sessions

The university-based academic sessions are well-structured with a realistic curriculum. The content is accessible and informative, and most of the content prepares you for the realities in the classroom.

Tutor and mentor support

My tutor and school-based mentor (especially the second placement) were supportive. They ensured I reflected on my practice and knew how to achieve my development target. They also helped me to manage my workload when I became overwhelmed.

School placements

A typical placement involved me teaching core subjects in the morning and foundation subjects in the afternoon. I was involved in preparing the Year 6 children for SATs, taking the children on a school trip to Nottingham Castle and attending parents' evening.

Best part of the course

The best part of my course was in my second placement. I completely evolved into an excellent teacher. I was effortlessly teaching those subjects (PE and computing) I didn't feel confident in, and becoming more independent in my practice. I received incredible support from my mentor, which boosted my confidence as a teacher.

Advice for anyone thinking of taking a teacher training course

Firstly, you need a solid conviction about being a teacher. The journey is intense and requires you to be resilient, but your unrelenting passion for teaching will help you persevere till the end.

Secondly, always ask questions. Maximise the support of your university tutor, mentor and even classmates.

Lastly, be open-minded and ready to adapt because your teaching philosophy may change along the course. 

 

Jonathan Green - Primary PGCE studentJonathan Green

Graduated 2021/22

Before undertaking his PGCE, Jonathan spent four years in Vietnam teaching science, English and maths. He decided he wanted to be a teacher during his undergraduate studies and went to teach abroad to see if it was the right decision for him. Turns out it was! Jonathan has secured a job at a school in Nottingham where he completed the Early Years immersion week. He enjoyed it so much that the school was the first one he applied to and he was very happy to be offered a job there. 

Jonathan says:

Becoming a teacher 

Teaching runs in my family. My mother was a class teacher and headteacher before moving on to other careers in education. Besides that, my time spent abroad showed me that I have a real passion for teaching and making an impact on the lives of all the young people that I teach.

Choosing the University of Nottingham

The interview process was really positive in comparison to some of the other PGCE courses that I applied for. All the tutors were so enthusiastic about the course and had a lot of questions for me to see if the course was the right fit. In my interview there was a headteacher from the Nottingham area present, which I thought was a really good thing.  

University-based academic sessions

The university-based academic sessions provided a really good base knowledge of teaching before going to our placement schools and that continued throughout the year. What I found most helpful was the number of resources the sessions gave us to help us with our planning and teaching.

Tutor and mentor support

I was really well supported by both my school-based mentors during my placements. They were both really well informed about the course and I felt like I could turn to them at any time about any questions, issues, or ideas that I had. My mentors were also both excellent examples to learn from as a trainee teacher. My university tutor was also very supportive when I needed it and the regular feedback that they provided throughout the year was brilliant.

School placements

On both of my main school placements I would arrive at school no later than 8am, to give myself plenty of time to set up my classroom and resources for that day if I was teaching, or to help my mentor with any preparation needed. Some days I would be teaching, some days I would be observing my mentor or other teachers, and some days I would be in the classroom supporting the children. I usually left school before 4:30 unless there was a staff meeting that day. 

Best part of the course 

Genuinely the best part of the course was the challenge, it’s a tough year but at the end of it you will feel really proud of yourself.

Advice for anyone thinking of taking a teacher training course

Do it! The PGCE primary course is definitely challenging but it’s also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. 

 

Atlanta Beeby

Graduated 2021/22

Before completing the PGCE, Atlanta attended Birmingham City University to study textiles as fashion was always a passion of hers. Alongside university she worked as a play worker for children with autism. She has now secured a job in a school in Nottingham where she undertook her second placement and will be teaching Year 5s.
 

Atlanta says:

Becoming a teacher

I decided to become a teacher as I had always loved interacting with children of all ages and being able to support them and making a difference in their lives always bought me joy. Although working with children can often be challenging and no day is the same, it is so rewarding.

Choosing the University of Nottingham

I chose to study at the University of Nottingham because of the high reputation. As I live in Nottingham I had such high expectations of the university.

University-based academic sessions

The university-based academic sessions were extremely useful even if I didn't think so at the time.  After the sessions I was able to relate to them within the classroom and put my knowledge into practice.

Tutor support

My tutor, Cath, was absolutely amazing. She would always motivate me to challenge myself and keep going despite any personal circumstances that arose. If I had any concerns or general questions it was made extremely clear that her emails were always open and if she didn't know the answer she would always find out.

School placements

A typical day on placement was eye-opening and no day was the same. On placement I encouraged myself to get as much experience and get stuck into teaching as early as possible. I was involved in school trips, parents' evenings, weekly staff meetings and sports. 

Best part of the course

The best part of my course was my placements and meeting other trainees. Both of my placements were close to where I live, I made some life-long friends and had schools and experiences I will never forget. 

Advice for anyone thinking of taking a teacher training course

If you are thinking of doing a PGCE, do not get put off by how challenging or intense you think the course may be (it is) but it is honestly so worth it. The workload is manageable if you organise yourself and the friends, experiences, and qualification that you gain will definitely make the course worth it. 

 

Samantha Clark - Primary PGCE School Direct graduate 2020Sam Clark

Graduated 2019/20

Sam studied coaching and sports science at university and gained experience of working with children through community projects. Sam accepted a teaching job at her placement school.  

 


Sam says: 

Becoming a teacher

I have wanted to be a teacher since I was 10 years old. I had the most amazing, interesting and thought provoking  teacher in Year 5. He not only stopped ability grouping us but also inspired and allowed us to learn in exciting ways. Since then, I have always wanted to have the same impact on children that he did on me. I want to inspire, encourage and support all children to succeed and discover their passions.

University-based academic sessions

The sessions that the tutors provide are not only engaging and interactive but provokes a new way of thinking. It is a lot of hard work but the tutors support you throughout and are always there to champion you! At the beginning of the course, you feel that you will not be able to achieve all the strands and phases and may question why you have certain sessions but the tutors are incredible and it does make sense why they have structured the course the way they have.

Tutor support

My personal tutor has supported me so much throughout the year and is always there for any query or question I may have. This has been highlighted more since we switched to virtual learning and I could not thank the primary team more for all they have done. Through the pandemic, we have been fully supported and given the most in-depth and interesting tasks to complete which allows you to deepen your subject knowledge ready to put it into practice. I have also learnt how to use research methods within the classroom to recognise the full impact my practice is having on the children.

Best part of the course

Meeting all of my peers and the paired placement - we became such good friends and more importantly a great support system for each other. We have supported each other through these strange times and will be there for each other in the future. No one else knows the roller coaster you go on so having people there going through the same thing is a blessing. 

 

David Sousa - Primary PGCE 2020 graduateDavid Gomes de Sousa

Primary PGCE 2019/20

David worked as a support worker at a day care centre for people with special needs. He chose the PGCE route as he felt it offered a greater range of training opportunities with two main placements and immersion weeks which allowed him to get more involved in Special Educational Needs and Early Years. David secured a Year 4 teaching job. 


David says:

Choosing the University of Nottingham

I was aware the University was praised for its academic excellence and the quality of its learning opportunities.

Tutor and mentor support

Tutors and mentors provided me with a safe space to return to. During the completion of placements and assignments, I was always able to find comfort and clarity in the words and the advice provided by tutors and mentors. Particularly, my university tutor helped me develop a positive work-life balance and supported me with defining the path towards reaching my future ambitions

School placements

Although both of my main placements were retrospectively different, they both provided me with experiences that reflected accurately what to expect in subsequent years. In both schools, I was involved in classroom routines, lesson planning and lesson delivery. I was able to build positive relationships with pupils and staff which greatly contributed to me feeling like I was part of the school

Advice for anyone thinking of studying a teacher training course

Although it was demanding, every single goal can be achieved and every obstacle can be overcome. I would say that there are three main things to keep in mind: the reasons that made you want to become a teacher; the fact that you are still and will always be learning; and to have fun and take each day as it comes.  

 

Rachel Cunliffe - Primary PGCE graduate 2020Rachel Cunliffe

Primary PGCE 2019/20

Rachel always knew she wanted to be a teacher and started the course having completed an English and classics degree at the University of Nottingham. She liked the variety the PGCE course offered in terms of experiencing multiple pedagogical styles, types of schools and settings and different age ranges. Rachel accepted a job in a school she visited on an immersion day which focussed on observing the school's creative curriculum.

Rachel says: 

Choosing the course

For me, the fact that the course includes masters credits is partially what drew me to undertake the course as I wanted the chance to explore educational research further than just what I would use in the classroom.

University-based academic sessions

I don't think I fully realised how great the sessions were until I started prepping my first class and realised I had so many resources for so many different areas because of the academic sessions.

School placements

In general terms, a typical day started in school at 8am, helping to set up for the day, doing any jobs the mentor needed and making sure that if I was teaching a lesson, I was 100% prepared. Sometimes I would teach a whole lesson or a part of it, sometimes I would be observing and helping the pupils. Don’t just sit there in the classroom- be active! Talk to the pupils, help them, be available if the teacher wants/needs you to do anything! 

School mentor support

I was incredibly lucky as I had two amazing school-based mentors who I learnt so much from. Both gave me endless support, ensuring that I believed in my abilities when I seriously doubted them myself! They were always willing to help in any way that they could and to answer the thousands of questions I had. I honestly can’t thank them both enough for all of the help they gave me.

Advice for anyone thinking of studying a teacher training course

As teachers, nothing goes to plan the entire time. The best piece of advice I can give is work hard, but don't despair if things don't go the way you planned. You don't have to be perfect all the time - learn, improve and importantly, enjoy!

 

 

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