PGDE Secondary Education - Chemistry with ScienceIrene Cascallana Matias, Spain

Tell us a bit about your background…
I come from Barcelona, Spain. Throughout my studies in high school and university I applied for a few fellowships, which allowed me to spend time studying in the UK and the USA and this has really helped me to improve my English. In 2012 I completed my degree in Chemistry at the Univesitat Autonoma de Barcelona and decided to come to Glasgow to do an Erasmus Project. After this I started my PhD studying lithium ion batteries which was a project collaboration between the University of Glasgow and Strathclyde University. In 2016 I stayed on to do a one year doing a postdoc at Glasgow University as a continuation of my research into lithium ion batteries. After completing my postdoc I moved to Bristol where I worked at Dyson as an engineer.

What inspired you to be a teacher?
I was inspired to become a teacher by my own primary school teacher. He was a very nice teacher with a great sense of humour. He used to often make good use of games to facilitate learning, which is something that I found extremely effective.

Did you have a favourite teacher when you were younger?
Yes, my primary teacher and my chemistry teacher from high school.

Why did you choose to study PGDE at the University of Strathclyde?
I was coming from industry, with a job. I wanted to start teaching and having a job as soon as possible. At the University of Strathclyde there is the possibility of the PGDEM course which is slightly shorter and allowed me start working earlier.

What has been the highlight of your time at Strathclyde?
I thoroughly enjoyed the EPP classes where we discussed social issues about poverty, LGBT, and children's rights. I especially enjoyed this since I was coming from a physical sciences background and so had never taken a class in social sciences before. For me this was my favourite part of my week.

Tell us about your experience on placement…
It is a challenging experience and I think it is very important to feel surrounded by family and friends as well as making time to spend time with them.

What would be your advice for people considering taking the PGDE course at Strathclyde?
I would advise them to be very organised from the very start of the course. Course work is often given out in several weeks before the submission date and it is very important to use your tie effectively in order to do a good job.

What have been your main challenges at university/in placement, and how have you overcome them?
I think that time management is the biggest challenge. Preparing lessons takes a lot of work and I have to spend a lot of my time doing this, however I am getting faster and more efficient.

What do you think of the support available during your course?
Lecturers were very supportive if you need extra help and are easy to contact via E-mail.

What are your ambitions for the future?
I would like to move back to Spain and become a teacher in Chemistry using all the knowledge gathered in this experience back home.