PGDE Modern Languages, MEd Professional PracticeHailey O‘Reilly

Tell us a bit about your background…
I am originally from North Lanarkshire but have lived in a few different places over the last ten years. I initially studied French and Spanish in Edinburgh. As part of my undergraduate, I spent time in both France and Spain, which I loved! After graduating, I worked as a Management Consultant, mostly in and around London. After a while, I decided to look into ways of using my language skills and decided to apply for teacher training. I then moved to Glasgow to start the PGDE at Strathclyde and have been here ever since.

What inspired you to become a teacher?

When I first graduated, I joined a graduate scheme like most of my peers but quickly realised this wasn’t for me! I wanted to do something that was more rewarding and varied. Having had experience of teaching English in a Spanish school, teaching was the obvious option. I was also keen to use the skills I had learned through my languages degree so becoming a French and Spanish teacher made sense!

Why did you select the University of Strathclyde to study the PGDE?

Strathclyde has an excellent reputation for the PGDE, which was my main reason for choosing Strathclyde over other universities. I was also keen to keep my options open to continue my studies at Masters level whilst working and I was impressed with the options for doing this that Strathclyde offered. I was able to complete Masters credits as part of the PGDE and, from this, received a scholarship to continue my MEd Professional Practice, which was fantastic.

What would be your advice for people considering taking the PGDE course at Strathclyde?

I would highly recommend the PGDE course at Strathclyde. Teaching is a rewarding career which offers many pathways; some people think you teach the same thing every day or every year, but it is a very varied role which involves constant professional development. There are lots of opportunities to undertake different roles in and out of schools, which is something I perhaps didn’t realise before coming into the profession. I would highly recommend Strathclyde as it is a well organised course with knowledgeable and approachable staff.

Tell us a little about your teaching career so far…

I  completed my probationary year in a secondary school in North Lanarkshire. At the end of this year, I was successful in gaining a permanent French and Spanish job in West Dunbartonshire, where I still work. After a year of working as a classroom teacher, I had the fantastic opportunity of undertaking an acting PT Pastoral Care role, which became permanent after a year. I am still working in this school and role and I love it!

You work in a pastoral care role. Can you share a little more on this?

I always knew that I would love to be a pastoral care teacher. In this role, you get to know pupils and parents very well. It is a great opportunity to work together to ensure pupils have all of the support that they need in order to reach their full potential. I find this part of my job the most rewarding. I still teach 18 periods of week, which means I still get to share my passion for languages so I get the best of both worlds!

You choose to complete Masters modules as part of the MEd Professional Practice programme. Can you tell us what led to this decision, and if it has impacted your career?

I really enjoy learning new things and continuing with my Masters studies whilst working made sense, not only to enhance my knowledge of educational policy but to also put this into practice. As part of the MEd Professional Practice, my dissertation linked to my role in pastoral care. I was able to share my findings with my colleagues, which was a positive experience. As a relatively new teacher, it also gave me confidence in my own practice.

Any final points or words of wisdom?

If you’re thinking about joining the PGDE, go for it! You will be supported throughout your time at Strathclyde and ultimately will join the most rewarding profession!