Since the tender age of 11, I have wanted to become a teacher due to the inspiration of my own incredible history teachers. Their infectious enthusiasm for the subject and ability to bring history alive, whether by patrolling around the classroom pretending to be Henry VIII or simply telling a 'story' in an almost hypnotic fashion, ensured that ever since I have been committed to achieving this goal. I will be forever indebted to the outstanding PGCE course at the University of Nottingham for helping me to do so.
I was instantly attracted to the PGCE offered at the University of Nottingham due to its outstanding reputation, both in terms of the university itself and also their approach to teacher training.
It was evident from the outset that the course was incredibly well-organised, with university sessions carefully thought out, planned and delivered. Just as you feel you need to re-ignite your ideas, recharge your energy and converse with those that are going through the same experience, a well-timed university session will come to the rescue.
On the history PGCE, we were extremely fortunate to be guided by very supportive tutors with extensive knowledge of both history and teaching. Significantly, it was clear throughout the year that they were not only concerned with our professional development but also our mentality and wellbeing, to ensure that we overcame the more challenging aspects of the course and completed it with the same positive attitude that we started with.
One of the best features of the course is the way it is structured, avoiding the potential 'sink or swim' approach of other teacher training routes to ensure a holistic and progressive development in which trainees develop at their own pace. Both my mentors in school and my university tutor were very skilled in recognising my strengths and areas for development, helping me to move forward in a way that was relevant to my independent experience.
The transition between my first school placement (School Experience) and my second (Teaching Practice) was excellent. The University ensures there is communication between your first and second mentors to aid with transition to a more intensive and rigorous teaching timetable. Your mentor in school will become an invaluable asset to your professional development, helping you to reflect on your teaching, to advise on new challenges and ultimately to enable you to be the best you can be.
Though challenging, nothing beats the feeling of completing your PGCE course and taking the time to reflect on the amazing year you just had. There will be bumps in the road. There will even be days where you may doubt yourself. Trust in the fact that everybody goes through this and that is one of the best features of a PGCE...you are not alone!
My advice to anybody embarking on this course is to talk to people throughout the year that are going through the same thing. Teaching is a journey, but not one travelled solo. The University and your course tutors do not consider their job to be done on the last day of your PGCE. They will continue to provide support into your NQT year and are keen to maintain contact with previous students.
So, take the plunge, challenge yourself, be creative, make new friends, establish yourself professionally but ultimately, enjoy it. I cannot recommend this course highly enough and I wish you all the very best in your journey to becoming a teacher. It truly is the best job in the world.