PGDE Secondary Education - Modern Languages (German and Italian)Giuliana Di Rollo, UK

Tell us a bit about your background...
I was born in Edinburgh and grew up there. I attended George Heriot's School from primary 1 until my final year of secondary school. After a year working in Cologne as an au pair I started my undergraduate degree at the University of Bristol where I studied German and Italian.

What inspired you to be a teacher?
I have always enjoyed working with young people. I realised over time how significant a teacher's input can be on a pupil's life. I was inspired to take that responsibility on; to share my passion for my subject with young people and to have a positive impact on their lives and approach to education.

Did you have a favourite teacher when you were younger?
My first German teacher had a lasting impression on me. She was full of energy and enthusiasm; as well as being a master of her subject. I was utterly enthralled from start to finish: I aim to be equally as memorable!

Why did you choose to study PGDE at the University of Strathclyde?
I chose the PGDE at the University of Strathclyde because the structure of the course appealed to me. The range of modules meant we had a good handle on educational policy as well as up to date pedagogical theories and research. I was also very impressed with the member of staff with whom I had my interview. This particular tutor was warm, enthusiastic and took a genuine interest in me.

Did you seek any support during the application process? Please tell us about this.
I spoke to my old German teacher who gave me their view of certain changes in the way modern languages is taught: namely changes instigated by Curriculum for Excellence. I also spoke to friends and family members for general advice on how to approach certain interview questions. 

What has been the highlight of your time at Strathclyde?
The highlight of my time at Strathclyde has been my time on placement. Being able to teach classes, expand my knowledge of the curriculum and develop my skills as a teacher has been truly invigorating. The balance of placement and class time in the university definitely supported my performance in school.

Tell us about your experience on placement...
My experience on placement has been rich in variation. I have taught in three quite different schools and have learned a great deal as a result. I am now very aware of the importance of getting to know your pupils and planning lessons which cater to all learners; after my time on placement I believe that this is the foundation of excellent teaching.

What would be your advice for people considering taking the PGDE course at Strathclyde?
For anyone considering taking the PGDE course at Strathclyde, I would suggest taking some time to reflect on exactly why it is you want to become a teacher and indeed why you chose your subject. Prepare yourself for a year of hard work, an emotional rollercoaster but ultimately a rewarding and enriching experience.

What have been your main challenges at university/in placement, and how have you overcome them?
The sheer workload of a student teacher on placement has been a challenge but something that gets easier with time as you gather more experience. I also found the nervous energy expended during classes to be draining but navigated my way through this by preparing thoroughly for each lesson and seeking help or advice from my colleagues at school.

What do you think of the support available during your course?
I always felt supported and able to ask for help when I needed it. Expectations of us on placement are outlined in detail in the course handbook as well as clear explanations regarding our assignments. 

What are your ambitions for the future?
Through constantly reviewing and developing my skills and knowledge I aim to be the best teacher of modern languages that I can be. Whether I stay in the classroom or expand into another field within education, I hope to remember the responsibility held by educators and their ability to impact on young peoples' lives.