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Teaching: a year in the life of a PGCE student

Find out what it’s like training to be a teacher in our interview with a PGCE student.

Moving On spoke to Ryan Turner about wanting to be a teacher and studying for a PGCE.

I wanted to study a PGCE because of my desire to teach. I’ve always been interested in being a teacher and I cemented this desire when I gained some voluntary teaching experience as an undergraduate at Coventry University. Doing a PGCE was the route I wanted to take into teaching and the qualification I needed to achieve my dream job.

Studying for a PGCE basically comes down to hard work, hard work and more hard work! It’s by no means an easy year, with great demands to meet – my careers advisers explained clearly that it would be a challenging experience. The course involves long days of study, teaching practice and assignments and it’s been very intense – I’ve done up to 60 hours work a week at times – but it will all be worth it when I qualify.

There will be times when you’ll be happy counting down the days to qualifying as a teacher and there will be times when you are pushed to your limits. One thing I’ve learnt is that theme park thrills are nothing compared to the rollercoaster ride that training to be a teacher has been!

Despite the demands of studying a PGCE there is little I would change as the year has been incredibly useful. The timing of academic assignments is the one thing I’d change, as finding the time to write them was quite difficult but the amount I’ve learned has been phenomenal.

For me, teaching is an incredibly rewarding profession which will give me the opportunity to make a real difference to children’s lives and equip them with the tools they need to go forward in life. There is no better feeling than seeing a child’s smile when they have grasped a concept that they’d struggled with previously and being a teacher is a great opportunity to contribute to their lives and have a positive impact on their learning.

Making the transition from being a student to becoming a teacher who’s not only fully responsible for their pupils but also has to teach a full timetable and manage all the daily routines, has been an incredible learning curve. Doing a PGCE has developed my subject knowledge in all aspects of the curriculum and I now know a great deal about learning theories and maximising pupil learning. It has been a tough year but I’ve made tremendous progress and I’m looking forward to putting all the skills I’ve learned into practice – when I get to teach my first proper class this September!

To do a PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate of Education) you’ll need to have gained a university degree. For primary teaching, your degree can be in any subject but for secondary teaching, you must have a degree in an area related to the subject you want to teach. You can find out all about a variety of jobs in education and teaching on our dedicated page.

About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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