Emma McNeil

PGDE Geography


I have always been extremely driven and a lot of my determination stems from being raised solely by my amazing Mum, who proved to me what it meant to be a strong, independent woman. From a young age, it was always clear that I would work in an environment that would allow me to display leadership and that had people situated at its heart.

I always displayed great admiration for the teaching profession and was extremely fortunate to have been taught by an amazing variety of teachers during my time at school that inspired me to want make a positive difference in the lives of others – and by this point it became pretty clear that becoming a Spice Girl was out of the window (sorry four year old Emma). After I discovered my love and passion for Geography, it couldn’t have been clearer to me that there was no other option – I was going to be a teacher and my journey into teaching began immediately after leaving school.

Having completed my undergrad at the University of Glasgow, I was really keen to continue studying in the city following graduation and after interviewing at multiple universities, I quickly realised that Strathclyde was the best fit for me and this was largely due to the warm welcome I received from the staff at the interview. Throughout every step of the way, my tutor could not have been any more supportive – both academically and emotionally – and I’ll forever be grateful to her for the teacher she helped me become.

At Strathclyde, the PGDE course covers such a large spectrum; ranging from the history of educational policy and theory, to practical classroom skills and subject specific knowledge. Both placements that the university organised for me were amazing and eye-opening experiences that gave me the confidence and ability to tackle any situation effectively and successfully.

My advice to anyone coming to study their PGDE at Strathclyde would be just to embrace every moment. There are going to be late nights, tears and moments when you feel like you can’t keep going – but you can and you will. Treasure the people you experience this journey with and utilise each other as much as you can when it ends. I made the most amazing friendships with people during my time at Strathclyde and feel so grateful to know I will now have them in my life forever. It’s a quick year that requires a lot of hard work, but it’s also full of laughs and fun that help you keep moving forward.

I’m not really sure what’s next for me at the moment, but I know I’ll always be in the classroom doing what I love. I think one day I would possibly like to move down pastoral/guidance route, but that’s going to be a decision I’ll make a few years down the line. Right now, I’m just extremely happy and proud that I managed to get here. In my mind, there’s no other job I would consider better – except maybe being a Spice Girl. Thanks Mum for convincing me out of taking that job as a Flood Risk Analyst when it all got a bit tough, I owe you one.