PGDE Secondary Education - Modern Languages (French)Manon Meunier, France

Tell us a bit about your background...
My name is Manon and I am 23 years old. I come from France, where I grew up in a small countryside village close to Poitiers in the west of France.

What inspired you to be a teacher?
I always have wanted to be a teacher, since I was a child. I completed an LLCER in English at the University of Poitiers in 2017, where I developed my love for the language and British culture. This is why I moved to London and lived as an au pair for a year. Living with children and being a part of their life while growing up only made my desire to become a teacher in the UK stronger.

Why did you choose to study PGDE at the University of Strathclyde?
As a foreigner, I particularly appreciated that the University of Strathclyde grants a scholarship for EU students. Without it, I would have never been able to study in the UK, which has always been my dream. That said, one of the main attractions of the PGDE was the fact that it was internationally recognised giving me the freedom to potentially explore the world through my passion for teaching. What confirmed my choice though was the moment of the interview. I had the opportunity to meet Kandi Higgins, one of the mentors of the Modern Languages, who instantly made me feel comfortable with her big, bright smile. She presented the university with a contagious enthusiasm and told me about the numerous facilities and resources of the university. Even before arriving, I already felt like Strathclyde was my new home.

What was the highlight of your time at Strathclyde?
For me, the best part of the PGDE was being able to gain real experience on placements. It could be quite challenging, especially at the beginning, but as the course progressed I gained experience and understood better what was expected and how I could achieve this.

What were your main challenges at university/in placement, and how did you overcome them?
My placements helped to boost my confidence as a teacher and when I look back and compare my first day of placement to myself now I can see how far I have come and how much I have learned. Having dyslexia myself, it was of particular interest to see how schools in Scotland cater for disabilities and special needs!

Placements were supplemented with the theoretical background to teaching, taught through lectures, seminars and personal research for essays.

What did you think of the support available during your course?
At times, writing essays and doing the lessons on placements could be difficult due to my dyslexia, but along with my personal coping strategies and the support of the university disability services I was able to overcome these challenges.

What would be your advice for people considering taking the PGDE course at Strathclyde?
Studying at Strathclyde is challenging as the classes but also the placements can be particularly demanding. You will learn everything that you need to know from theory at university to practice in classrooms, you will be trained and prepared to face any challenges, and this requires organisation and commitment. However, it is important to save yourself some time and appreciate Glasgow!

Coming to the end of the course now I feel confident in the knowledge I have gained, have made some amazing friendships and believe I am ready to tackle the upcoming challenges of my probationary year!

What are your ambitions for the future?
I would like to teach French in the UK and share my culture with my future pupils, pass knowledge to the next generation but also learning from it, give children the eagerness to learn always more and be excited about life.