BA Primary EducationLeah Monk

Tell us a little bit about your background...
My name is Leah and I live in East Kilbride which is about 30 mins away from Glasgow’s city centre.

What inspired you to study Primary Education at Undergraduate level?
After leaving school I was unsure what I wanted to do moving forward. I had thought about applying for a full-time job, but felt like I was not ready to enter the world of work yet. I studied HNC Childhood Practice at college for one year and this helped improve my confidence immensly. This course helped me in understanding that I wanted a career working with children. I then applied for the Primary Education course and received an unconditional offer, which I feel was greatly benefited by the fact I had gained experience with working with children. In hindsight I am so glad I did not apply for another uni course in school or get a full-time job, as the time I spent deciding what path was right for me helped me pick something I truly enjoy.

Did you have a favourite teacher at school?
My favourite teacher in school was my Primary 3 teacher Mrs Middleton. I can still remember the topic work we were taught in her class, especially Ancient Eygpt which I remember being fascinated by. I would say she was my favourite teacher because she always had time for me and always made me feel like she valued what I had to say. When I think about what kind of teacher I want to be, Mrs Middleton always comes to my mind.

What appealed to you about studying at Strathclyde?
A lot of qualifed teachers I know studied at Strathcylde and had nothing but positive words to say about their experience. It also appealed to me how close campus is to Glasgow's city centre and night life.

What have been some of the highlights of studying your course?
My main highlight from the course has definitely been the placements I have embarked on. Each year you feel yourself growing in strength and actually envisaging yourself as a teacher. In first year I found it hard to imagine ever being responsible for a whole class. However, now in fourth year you take whole class lessons daily on placement.

What have been some of the challenges of studying your course?
The impact that COVID has had on my uni experience has undoubtably been the biggest challenge. Fortunately I made good friendship groups in my first and second year, which meant I had a strong support network when our learning went remote. Having several placements cancelled also negatively impacted my confidence as a teacher as I felt I was not at the level I should be for how far on in the course I was. However, this just meant that the time we have had on placement has been extremely valued and I have put my all into it.

What did you learn during your placements?
The main thing I have taken away from my placement is that every class and learner is different. What might have worked with one class wont work with another, and it is vital that you learn to be flexible. A lot of the time plans change and what you thought you were teaching needs to be adapted quite quickly. Ive also learned that it is okay to have bad lessons and bad days. As a student, you are not expected to get everything perfect. You actually learn more from the mistakes you make.

What advice would you give to someone considering studying the BA in Primary Education at Strathclyde?
Give the course your all. At times it is challenging, but if this is the career for you Strathclyde equip you with the knowledge you need to be a great teacher if your willing to devote your time to it.

What are your ambitions for the future?
After my probation year, I hope to secure a permanent, full-time job which would allow me to continue working in the field I am so passionate about.