Immediately before studying for my PGCE, I worked for a year as a Curriculum Support Assistant within the English Department of a secondary school which gave me vital experience within a classroom and helped to prepare me for the year ahead. Prior to getting that job, I also did a few weeks of work experience at both a secondary and a primary school to make sure this was definitely the career path I wanted to take – something I’d really recommend doing if possible because it makes your training year much less of a shock to the system as you’ve already seen first-hand what to expect!
My training experience was a great one; the induction sessions at MMU allowed me to meet the people who were to become a huge part of my life for year, including my course leader and personal tutor, and the induction day at Chorlton High School which soon followed gave me valuable insight into the ethos of the school I was to be training at and what to expect. This Block A placement itself was a case of really hitting the ground running, with my Subject Mentor giving me a 50% timetable and allowing me to TA within his classroom until I felt ready to take the classes over. Despite the weekly observations and meetings seeming daunting at first, they really helped to give me realistic targets week on week and I genuinely felt my confidence and ability improving with every lesson.
My contrasting placement was also brilliant – my Professional Mentor at Chorlton High went above and beyond to ensure all of the trainees had totally different experiences during Block B so as to give us a well-rounded view of teaching in a secondary school. Having gone from a mixed, inner city school with a lot of different cultures, languages and religious backgrounds in Block A, I found being in a predominately white, all-boys school in the countryside really eye-opening. Despite the contrast, the transition between placements was seamless and I was consistently supported throughout both placements by my Subject Mentors, Professional Mentors and course leader at university. Returning to Chorlton High for my Block A2 placement was by far the best part of the whole year, as I was welcomed back by both students and staff and it really helped to make me feel like I was part of something and not just a trainee. For my enrichment phase, I knew I wanted to do something that was linked to behaviour and teaching small groups of students in a slightly different setting, so I spent a week at Chorlton High’s Green Room facility which offers personalised learning opportunities for students from all year groups to raise their academic attainment and engagement in learning. The experience was really useful and gave me opportunities such as working one on one with excluded students, going out on a KS3 trip to the Etihad Stadium and working with Year 11 students doing revision away from the main building.
Thanks to the support I had throughout the year and opportunities I had to hit every teaching standard as I was going along, I ended the year on ‘Outstanding’ which has put me in a very fortunate position for the year ahead. My advice to anyone thinking about studying for their PGCE or considering a career in teaching is to just give it a go – you’ll know straight away whether it’s for you and the time spent in university doing various assignments complements the work you do in the classroom really well. There really isn’t a more rewarding job (provided you stay on top of your paperwork!), so although I’m trying not to wish my summer away, I can’t wait to get started as an NQT in September and I am delighted to be joining Chorlton High School as a permanent member of staff. I can’t think of a better place to continue my professional development.