Our graduatesMarina Boyer, PGDE Secondary French

Tell us a little bit about your journey to studying PGDE Modern Languages...
I studied British and American culture and literature for three years at the university in the Reunion Island. Before my masters’ degree, I spent two years in England to work in secondary schools as a French Language Assistant. I would have discussion classes with students. When I moved back to France, I studied “French as a Foreign Language” (FLE) for my masters’ degree. In order to gain more experience of working with children, I spent 6 years as a supervisor at a secondary school. Then I decided to apply for the PGDE Modern Languages programme in Strathclyde.

Tell us about the format of the programme. What were you doing week-to-week?
As the programme took place during COVID, the courses were done online. From August to October, we had weekly meetings with our tutors. We also had different courses where we had to learn about different topics linked to the educational system in Scotland. All lessons were made available through videos made by teachers and uploaded onto the PGDE platform. Tasks had to be completed and then discussed with tutors. From October, we started to plan for our school placements. During our school placements, the first two weeks would be dedicated to observing lessons and classroom teachers to learn about the classes’ routines. Then, we started to teach to students with the help of the classroom teacher. After the holidays, we went back to the programme courses and to the weekly meetings with our tutors, up until the new school placements.

What were the most enjoyable parts of your degree?
I enjoyed being in schools. For both of my school placements, teachers always made me feel welcome. They made me feel like a part of the department and not just a student. I also enjoyed getting to know the students and creating a connection with them. Even if we are not in schools for the entire school year, I was surprised about how fast students get used to you as their classroom teacher. Students would tell me about their fears or they would ask me for advice and guidance in the subject.

I enjoyed teaching students about French culture and also about the Reunion Island. They loved learning about other places in the world, especially when they didn’t know it existed in the first place.

Tell us about your new role and what your job is like?
I have been working as a full-time French teacher in a secondary school in Aberdeen. As a French teacher, my job involves teaching the French language and culture to students. I create engaging lessons, focus on speaking, reading, and writing skills, and integrate cultural aspects into the learning process. Regular assessments help track progress, and I collaborate with parents and colleagues to support students effectively. It's a rewarding experience to see my students' language proficiency grow and share my passion for French with them.

How do you feel your degree helped prepare you for this role?
My PGDE degree has been vital in preparing me for my role as a French teacher. With a strong foundation in teaching theories and methodologies, I learnt how to create engaging lessons and to adapt those lessons to individual needs. Being new in Scotland, my PGDE has been especially helpful in navigating the educational system and understanding the aspects of teaching here.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering working in a similar role to yours?
To remember the role you have for the students. You are role models for them, and it is important to set a good example every day. Be always professional. Be resilient and don't be afraid to ask for help when needed.