PGDE Secondary Education - Religious Moral EducationJonas Christensen, Denmark

Tell us a bit about your background...
I grew up in a small village in the North of Denmark and did my undergraduate studies in Philosophy in Aarhus, which is the second largest city in Denmark. In 2006, I moved to Edinburgh to do my PhD at Edinburgh University. I've stayed in Edinburgh since and have had different jobs in academia. In 2018, I decided to pursue a career in teaching. 

What inspired you to become a teacher?
The main reasons were that it is a profession with good job opportunities and where I could use the skills I had gained, both through my studies and my subsequent work experience. Also, my wife is a teacher so I knew quite a few people in the profession already. However, I really had no experience working with children and I didn't know if I would like it or not. Fortunately, I've really enjoyed it.

Did you have a favourite teacher when you were younger?
I've had many great teachers over the years, but nobody in particular stands out as a favourite. 

Why did you select the University of Strathclyde?
To be honest, it was mostly a choice based on convenience. I had applied to the PGDE programme at both Strathclyde and Glasgow University, but I had no real knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of either programme. However, since I knew I would be commuting to Glasgow from Edinburgh by bus or train, the central location of Strathclyde University appealed to me. So, when Strathclyde was the first to offer me a place, I accepted it.

Did you seek any support during the application process?
Yes, I had some questions regarding the qualifications needed to enter the programme and I always had helpful and quick responses. 

What has been the highlight of your time at Strathclyde so far?
Two things. One was my placement: everyone I met there was so friendly and supportive. And the kids were great. Two was meeting the other students training to be RME teachers. We're a relatively small group and there's a great atmosphere when we're together. Everyone supports each other.

Tell us about your experience on placement...
Really positive. Even though I was only at the school for eight weeks, I was made to feel like any other member of staff. And I definitely learned a lot about teaching.

What would be your advice for people considering taking the PGDE course at Strathclyde?
If you're looking to get into teaching, I'd say go for it. I feel it's prepared me well for my upcoming probation year.

Have you had to overcome any challenges in your time here?
I wouldn't say so. For sure, there have been times on placement where I've felt disappointed because a lesson didn't go as well as I'd thought it would. However, you learn from your mistakes and that's part of the reason you go on placement.

What do you think of the support available?
Excellent really. My tutor has been great at ensuring everyone is happy and doing well.

What are your ambitions for the future?
The next big challenge will be to complete the probation year. After that, I'm obviously hoping to find a teaching job. There are different avenues for career advancement in teaching, but for now, I'm just looking a couple of years ahead.