Tell us a little bit about your background…
After working in various administrative jobs over the past 22 years, I was bored. I didn’t want another 20 years to pass and then for me to wish I had taken the plunge to pursue my dream job of teaching. So, just before I hit my 40th birthday, I left my job and started college. I have always loved learning so really enjoyed my 2 years at college. When I was young, I didn’t have the opportunity to attend university, it was taken for granted that I would leave school and start work. Someone from a single parent family was expected to work to help with the family income.
Why did you decide to become a teacher?
I have wanted to teach since I was 24 years old. Twenty years later and I still need to pinch myself to believe that I am actually teaching. You might ask why did I wait so long? The time never seemed right. Finances always seemed tight, kids came along and finances were even tighter. I love being with children, I love helping them learn and to explore their imaginations, their thoughts and for them to realise and achieve their dreams.
Did you have a favourite teacher when you were at school?
I didn’t have a favourite teacher at secondary school but I did have favourite subjects which were Latin and Maths. The teacher pupil relationship was very different when I was a pupil to how it is today. It has changed so much and I am so blessed to be a part of it.
What advice would you give to someone considering studying the PGDE at Strathclyde?
Don’t think about it – go for it! I absolutely loved my time at Strathclyde. I only wish I had been there longer as I went to another university for my Honours Degree. Having studied in another university, I can honestly say that Strathclyde is very much my favourite. All faculty staff are very helpful, encouraging and approachable. The library is immense. I spent a lot of time in the library researching and typing up my assessments.
The lecturers are fantastic, very knowledgeable. Don’t let the expanse of buildings put you off. I am the world’s worst at directions and if I managed to find my way about, so can you. Love every minute of your journey. Before you know it, your year will be at an end and you will be at the Awards Ceremony. Your journey may include anxiety, late nights, maybe tears but remember, there is always someone to help, to offer advice and guidance. Best advice I can give is that all students speak to a member of the faculty sooner rather than later if they are having any issues with any of their classes.
What did you learn during your placements?
I learned too much to mention, however physically being in the classroom with 20 pupils is something that cannot be taught or learned in the university. Every class is different, every school is different and every pupil is an individual. I don’t think I can say I had any two lessons that were the same.
I think the observations are crucial for all students. It is intriguing to see how teachers teach their classes and how a teacher can have different personas for various classes, depending on their behaviour and structure. I joined several working groups at my placements and still use MTV (Making Thinking Visible) tasks in my probationary year. Join as many groups as you can while on placement and have fun!
Did you feel like you were supported by your tutor?
I must also add that my class tutor was the most helpful, approachable and understanding lecturer that I have ever had the opportunity to meet. He was also very knowledgeable with regards to current behaviour classroom strategies and the curriculum, as he still taught at his local secondary school. He offered assistance, both personally and academically to those in the class who required it. Even when I was on placement, I was able to contact him to discuss resources and to speak to him for guidance and advice.
Where are you working now?
I am now working in South Ayrshire for my probationary year as a Computing Science teacher. I have just started a Homework Club for 1st years to guide them, try to help them with organisational skills, and assist them in completing their homework for all their subjects.
What is the best part of your job?
The kids! Simple as that. I think being a mum of 3 young girls, I share their empathy and like to hear their stories. I like to see their faces light up when they are animated explaining to me what they have learned during the lesson.
What are your ambitions for the future?
My only ambition is to keep loving what I am doing and to keep learning – every day is a learning day. I have waited so long to have this career that I am here to stay.
Any final points, or words of wisdom?
Life is short. Go for your goals, reach for the stars. It is never too late to learn and to start something new. If I can do it, anyone can do it.