PGDE Secondary Education - Religious Moral EducationSamantha Wilson, Canada

Tell us a bit about your background…
Originally from Toronto Canada, I moved to the UK a few years ago to take up a research position at the University of Glasgow after finishing my PhD.

What inspired you to be a teacher?
After several years in academia I was interested in something more meaningful which involved working more closely with young people. I realised that lecturing was the part of my week that I looked forward to the most so I decided to dedicate myself to teaching full time.

Did you have a favourite teacher when you were younger?
I have been lucky enough to have a number of very passionate and inspiring teachers over the years who have made a profound difference in my life. One of my favourites was my homeroom teacher in middle school. She was very supportive during the difficult transition period between primary and secondary school. She was also an incredibly dynamic teacher who was always bringing in new ways for pupils to explore the world around them. She made me realise the kind of impact a teacher can have on every pupil they teach.

Why did you choose to study PGDE at the University of Strathclyde?
I knew that the University of Strathclyde was the perfect place for me as soon as I had my interview. My subject tutor was so passionate about the role of RMPS in the Scottish curriculum and the importance of developing critical thinking skills. That commitment and enthusiasm was contagious!

What has been the highlight of your time at Strathclyde?
There have been quite a few highlights. I really enjoyed the focus on critical pedagogy during the EPP course. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on the relationship between theory and practice and my social responsibility as an educator.

Tell us about your experience on placement…
I had a wonderful experience on placement. I was able to teach in two very different schools who each had very supportive and innovative mentors. I learned quite a few new strategies in terms of lesson planning and behaviour management that will help me as I transition to my probation year.

What would be your advice for people considering taking the PGDE course at Strathclyde?
If you are committed to being a great teacher Strathclyde is a good place to be. The PGDE offers a lot of support for its students and has a very experienced team of educators to help you navigate the course. The one piece of advice I have for anyone considering taking the course is to try and get as much classroom experience as you can before you start. Any prior experience makes a big difference once you start your placements.

What have been your main challenges at university/in placement, and how have you overcome them?
Being able to balance the course with other work obligations has been a struggle for me. I have to say I wouldn’t have been able to complete the course without support from my family.

What do you think of the support available during your course?
I had a lot of support from my subject tutor throughout the course. I always knew that if I needed any advice, he would be available.

What are your ambitions for the future?
This course has not only made me realise how much I love teaching but also how much I love thinking about the role of different pedagogies. I am hoping to continue to develop both sides of my passion.