PGDE Secondary Education - Computing ScienceAlastair Scott, UK

Alastair Scott PGDE Computing graduate 300x300Tell us a bit about your background...
I studied Accountancy and Computer Science at Heriot-Watt University. After graduation, I trained as a Chartered Accountant and worked in Finance for a number of years. I took the opportunity to study for a MSc in IT at Glasgow University, followed by a return to the financial sector. However, teaching had been a long-term interest and, with my family life quite settled, I decided that it was time to follow that dream. I stay in Uddingston with my wife, two children (one of whom is studying Engineering at Strathclyde) and a dog. I've stayed in Lanarkshire for most of my life.

What inspired you to become a teacher?
I had thought about teaching for many years but personal circumstances didn't make it a practical option for me. I realised, though, that if I did not go into teaching, it would be a permanent regret. I love computers and I really want to share that interest and passion with a new generation. The thought of inspiring others in my field is very satisfying. 

Did you have a favourite teacher when you were younger?
I didn't have any bad teachers, but there were a few stand-outs. What made them memorable was the rapport that they struck with the class - the work got done, but they knew when they could relax a bit and make lessons fun.

Why did you select the University of Strathclyde?
Strathclyde has, for as long as I can remember, had an excellent reputation for teacher education. Both my mother and mother-in-law trained at Jordanhill and I must confess that, until I started looking into teaching seriously, I was unaware that other universities in the west of Scotland offer teacher training.

Did you seek any support during the application process?
I attended the open evening on becoming a teacher before I applied. This answered a lot of questions and made me confident that I was making the right choice. I also spoke to friends who had completed their teacher training recently to get their thoughts and experiences - this was also very helpful.

What has been the highlight of your time at Strathclyde?
Being able to use the gym at 7.30 before going to lectures! Although, carrying sweaty gym kit for the rest of the day might not be a highlight for others.

Tell us about your experience on placement...
I really enjoyed my first placement. The school I went to was in a reasonable area, but had to deal with issues around deprivation, literacy levels and attainment. The school itself could not have been more supportive to its student teachers. All students had twice-weekly meetings with the student regent, who covered a lot of areas such as classroom management, differentiation and supporting pupils with differing educational needs. The faculty staff made me very welcome and I received a lot of very useful feedback - not all positive, but all constructive. 

What would be your advice for people considering taking the PGDE course at Strathclyde?
Make sure you spend some time in a classroom before you start. For me, it underlined that the choice I was making was the right one for me.

Have you had to overcome any challenges in your time here?
The biggest challenge I have faced is balancing the requirements of completing assignments when on placement. Placement is demanding in terms of lesson planning and preparation. I found it very easy to immerse myself in the school preparation and forget about assignment deadlines.

What do you think of the support available?
Support has been good, although there could have been a bit more information around the content of the Placement File. Some sample lesson plans would have been helpful as a guide. Our tutor is very keen that we all have as good an experience as we can and is happy to take questions from us when we're on placement.

What are your ambitions for the future?
My ambition is to qualify and enjoy teaching! I have no great desire to be a faculty head or principal teacher. Just to help and guide the pupils in my classes to achieve their own potential.