April 26, 2016, by educationguestblog
Celebrating Teaching – PGCE alumnus
I graduated from Loughborough University in 2004 with a 2:2 in Sports Science and Mathematics (Joint Honours) and began my PGCE with The University of Nottingham, in September of the same year. Since leaving the course I have become an AST, worked for the NCETM, been involved in authoring professional development programmes for Tribal and Pearson, lead Mathematics Departments and become involved in the leading of whole school issues too; all of which stem from having the best possible support and inspiration during my PGCE year.
The course instantly challenged my pre-conceptions regarding teaching in general, and particularly, the teaching of mathematics. Initially, I thought education was all about getting students “through” exams, as this is very much the way I was taught at school. But from the very first university session, my attitude changed, now believing that education is about ensuring all students are given opportunities to flourish academically by learning mathematics in engaging ways. I found the course was an ideal mix of preparing me for the practicalities of day-to-day teaching but also developing my personal study skills. The academic rigour of the course allowed me to learn from the literature about the theoretical side of pedagogy, whilst also giving me the opportunity to further my own studies by completing a masters degree in Education, after the course had finished.
I have benefitted from the close links that the course has with the research experts that are also based in the university. I distinctly remember sessions being led by Malcolm Swan and Peter Gates, both covering ideas that I still use in my classroom practice today. I now regularly work with Malcolm and his team at the university on a variety of professional development projects, and this relationship began as a result of my time as a PGCE student at the university.
Even though I am now working in my third school, I have always enjoyed the benefits from close working links with the university. I really enjoy having student teachers working within the department, as they often have a fresh approach to teaching that is not always apparent within the school itself. I have also benefited from the training offered as a mentor and this has developed not only my teaching but the wider aspects of my job, such as working with and developing other teachers. I am been very proud of the fact that over the years I have been asked back to complete sessions for students who are currently on the course. The sessions have included, engaging students with mathematics and developing AfL strategies. This is something, that I can remember being very beneficial when I was a PGCE student and allowed me to see possible progressions my career could take once I began teaching.
Schools in and around Derby hold the PGCE course in very high esteem; all of the departments I have worked within have employed numerous graduates from the courses they run and all have turned into excellent classroom practitioners, with many now taking on extra responsibilities within the education settings they work.
Looking back over my career so far, I cannot speak highly enough of the perfect grounding the course has given me. It gave me the confidence to take risks during my PGCE year and then continue to do so throughout my career thus far. It allowed me to realise that no teacher is ever a finished article and that so much can be learnt through collaboration and the assistance of people who are related to education but do not necessarily work within your school.