School Based Teacher TRAINING Testimonials
LUCY HEWITSON - PRIMARY PGCE SCHOOL DIRECT 2022/23
Prior to the course, I studied Modern Languages and Cultures with a year abroad (French and Italian) at Durham University. During my year abroad, I taught English to Italian students and this rewarding experience spurred my passion for teaching. The PGCE School Direct route appealed to me due to being immersed into the teaching experience from the first day!
Choosing the course
After teaching online during the pandemic, it was really important for me to gain a wealth of teaching experience in the classroom. The PGCE School Direct course offered a practical approach to learning where I could gain first-hand experience. Additionally, the idea of belonging to a school community throughout the academic year was invaluable to me as a trainee teacher; it made the new experience less daunting! The university input supported my implementation of pedagogical approaches in the classroom. I particularly benefited from the module where I conducted my own intervention to help overcome barriers to learning.
Being in school from the first day of the academic year meant that I was absorbed in school life from the get-go. I quickly became a part of the school team, forming positive relationships with staff and children across the school. Initially, I helped to organise resources for the day, take the register, observe teaching, and lead small group interventions. After a couple of months, I was planning and teaching my own lessons, contributing towards pupil assessments, and preparing children for their SATs tests. The wealth of opportunities has really helped build my resilience and confidence as a teacher.
I was lucky to receive some great support throughout my training year. Each week, during the assessed phase, an observation took place and the feedback really helped shape my teaching practice. It goes without saying that teaching certainly has its challenging days but my colleagues (particularly my year group teams) have provided support throughout. Thank you!
You can do it! This course is all about learning and becoming the best teacher you can be. Try not to place pressure on yourself to be perfect every day; not every day will go as planned but the best thing to do is reflect and use the experiences to improve! The workload, pace and content are demanding but try to keep up the momentum. I always reminded myself of the reasons behind wanting to become a teacher and this certainly kept me going!
Emily Deighton - Primary PGCE School Direct 2021/22
Becoming a teacher
Before I started on the course, I had been a teaching assistant for 7 years which had given me the opportunity to see into teaching before I made my decision to do my teacher training. I have been lucky enough to work in many year groups across the key stages and have worked with some amazing teachers who have inspired me to reach my goal of becoming a teacher. After doing my teacher training year, it has made me realise how much I love being a teacher and how I can inspire my pupils to be the best they can be!
During my time on my course, the support I have received from my colleagues and my school mentor has been fantastic. If I ever had any worries, my mentor would be extremely supportive which has made me feel confident throughout the course. Having a mentor, who is an experienced teacher themselves, has been really positive as they have been able to share their knowledge and experiences which has been invaluable.
The school experience for me has been the most amazing part of my course. Working in a busy school and completing university alongside was a fantastic way to put all of our academic learning into our daily practise. During my time on placement, I contributed towards the planning and delivery of the lessons. I made sure all of my resources were ready for the day ahead. I feel organisation is key for the pupils to have successful day of learning. With being on placement for the whole year, I was able to build positive relationships with staff, pupils and parents which supported my confidence throughout the course.
Best part of the course
Being part of such a big group of school direct students this year really made the whole course enjoyable from start to finish! We became good friends and were there to support each other throughout every challenge. It is a very intense course which is why having the support from colleagues and other students is vital.
Beatrice Bude - School Direct PGCE 2021-2022
Becoming a teacher:
There have been several reasons as to why I decided to become a teacher. Through my undergraduate practice in Psychology, I made the decision that my passion was working with the individual, and more specifically, helping children learn how to manage their emotions and mental health throughout their life, not just school. I wanted to provide this support and help to children in school and decided that a teaching route would allow me to inspire and motivate the young children in aiming high and discover their passion.
The university sessions from Sunderland have been some of my favourite sessions to attend as they had taught a lot on the developmental stages of children and how these changes throughout their life. It has been inspiring to learn about how the environment around them such as the classroom can have a massive impact in their learning. The learning aspect never ends and there is always something new to teach and to learn and it truly is fascinating to find out information about so many subjects.
There has been some great support offered throughout the school direct course. There has been very supportive help from the university mentor and those within school. They were always happy to answer any questions related to teaching, assessments and paperwork. They have really encouraged me with their feedback from lesson observations which had really built my confidence.
It has been really lovely meeting others who have gone through the same stage that I was. We have been able to encourage and support one another with advice and tips and tricks for the classroom. We had created a good relationship and could rely on the support of another to help with queries and the teaching aspect of school. Everyone within school was very friendly and had amazing subject knowledge. They would always offer support in this area when asked and they would always check up on how things have been going. The children have been the most amazing part of this school experience and I believe I had one of the best classrooms within the school – this is biased of course. But they have been such an amazing bunch of children to work with and they have really allowed me to build my confidence with their participation in lessons.
Emma Charlton - Primary PGCE School Direct 2021/22
I studied Theology and religious education at university because I’ve always been interested in other cultures, places and people. I had an inspiring teacher who taught me RE when I was younger and knew that when I was older, I wanted to be just like her. I knew the Schools Direct course was right for me, as I know I learn better by doing things hands-on.
Becoming a teacher
In secondary school, I had an amazing teacher who taught me RE, she was creative, thought provoking and interesting. She made me realise my potential and to never stop believing- you can be anything you want to be. From then on, I knew I wanted to have the same impact on children the way she did on me. It is so important for children to know they are valued, respected, encouraged and are in a nurturing environment to discover their true potential. Children are amazing, they are like sponges- they can find awe and wonder in anything and everything!
I have been incredibly lucky to have worked alongside some amazing teachers over the last year, and I’ve had an amazing mentor too. They believed in me and encouraged me when I doubted myself, and for that I will always be grateful. They have given me their time to; plan lessons together, give feedback, give share ideas, and support me to be the best I can be. Nothing has ever been too much trouble, and I have always felt like I could go to them if I needed a little bit of advice and reassurance.
I also have had a university based mentor who was always on hand to respond to any academic queries I had, or a 1:1 catch up. Again, nothing was too much trouble for her, and I have felt fully supported throughout this course.
Keep learning and keep going! Completing the course has been one of the hardest things I’ve done, but equally one of my greatest achievements. I quickly learnt that not everything goes to plan and not every lesson will be perfect. But by reflecting and learning from it, you become a better teacher. Also, don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. I have learnt so much from what I thought was a silly question- it turns out there is no such thing as a silly question!
Stephanie Coates - Primary PGCE School Direct 2020/21
Steph had been a teaching assistant in a primary school for 7 years. Knowing she wanted to progress onto teaching, she chose the PGCE School Direct route to ensure she remained in school as much as possible. Steph has now secured a teaching job at her placement school.
Becoming a teacher
I was lucky that throughout my own education I experienced some wonderful teachers who inspired me to always strive to achieve my best and reach for the top. Consequently, I knew I would love to be a teacher so that I can inspire others to achieve too. I really enjoyed my time as a teaching assistant and feel the experience I gained throughout my career has been invaluable in supporting me to achieve my QTS.
University-based academic sessions
We had a bit of a different year in terms of lectures as learning turned to Teams. However, the tutors were great at getting to know you and how you learn best, even from behind the screen! Lectures were engaging and interactive, and always set you up to succeed in your placement and within your essays. There was no such thing as a silly question as they recognised that everyone’s previous experience and knowledge was different and it was fantastic to see everyone support each other, bringing their own knowledge from their background.
For me, tutor support was vital this year as there were so many twists and turns in education. My personal tutor was always in touch to explain any changes in response to the pandemic and this ensured I felt confident in my role. It was fantastic that they were able to highlight training events that would be useful for our practice and this was often personalised, with their knowledge of what you had expressed interest in developing.
Best part of course
I thoroughly enjoyed being on placement with other Schools Direct students - we became good friends and more importantly a great support system for each other. We have supported each other through these strange times and will be there for each other in the future. No one else knows the roller coaster you go on so having people there going through the same thing is a blessing.
Abi Curtis - Primary PGCE School Direct 2020/21
I studied Printed Textiles at Leeds Arts University and gained experience working with children in clubs and sports. A hands-on approach to learning is important and this is what made the PGCE School Direct route appeal to me.
Choosing the course
I chose this course because of the practical approach to learning, there is no better way to learn to teach than being in the classroom observing other teachers and having a go yourself. The option of being in a school throughout the course and being seen as a member of staff by the school community was important and invaluable, this is definitely the best way to learn! The university input really helped me to consider approaches to my practice and different ways I could approach lessons. The modules and practical elements of the course will benefit your practice in different but positive ways.
Being in school from the very beginning meant that routines and relationships were established, the typical school day starts around 7.45 for me. I help to set up for the day, ensure resources are ready and making sure I was ready for any lessons I was teaching that day. I quickly became part of the school team and formed positive relationships with both children and staff, this enabled me to get an accurate expectation of what is needed within the day to day running of a classroom. I also contributed toward planning, delivery of lessons and assessment of the children throughout the year. Especially throughout lockdowns, I found the experience fantastic, I was able to have a go at online lessons and remain in school for keyworker provision being relied upon as a key member of staff.
I was incredibly lucky to have some amazing mentors throughout the course. They provided me with appropriate support throughout, you have a University based mentor, a school-based liaison mentor and a school mentor (usually the class teacher). They are always happy to answer questions or support you with planning, ideas, etc. All tutors gave me amazing support and they backed me throughout the course, even when I seriously doubted myself, I cannot thank any of them enough!
Don’t ever stop learning! Throughout this course, there is so many opportunities to enhance your own knowledge, whether this is a university offer or a school training offer, take everything you can. Not everything always goes to plan, you don’t have to be perfect all the time, just make sure you reflect and learn from it. There is a lot to think about throughout this course, the workload is hard but keep going, it is achievable and just keep thinking about why you are doing this course, the rewards speak for themselves!
Aidan Grant - Primary PGCE School Direct 2020/21
Aidan studied History at university and gained experience of working with children through teaching English in China. He chose the Schools direct route for its hands on approach which helped him become more confident with teaching students with different needs. Aidan has secured a HLTA SEND job at his placement school.
Becoming a teacher
My passion for teaching was sparked while working in China, Beijing. I taught children from the ages of 3 to 10. It was amazing and very rewarding to see the students’ confidence grow throughout my time with them. This inspired me to pursue a career in education. I don’t think there is a more gratifying career than teaching.
University-based academic sessions
Since I did my course during the pandemic, Sunderland University was closed. However, support and lectures were given through Teams. The sessions were very interesting and really helped me understand theories and pedagogy. I was then able to bring this into the classroom which I believe helped me become a better teacher.
My personal tutor has supported me throughout the course. If I have had any issues or queries, they were quickly answered. My tutor sent weekly updates via email and made sure that we were up to date with all information that concerned me. I was also supported through my mentor and course co-ordinator. They both encouraged me throughout the course and guided me through the whole process of teaching. I have learnt so much from being in the classroom every day. I believe it has been fundamental to my success and has helped me obtain a position at the school.
Best part of course
I have really enjoyed meeting others who have similar values and aspirations as me. There were four other Schools Direct students within the school, and we supported each other all the way. I have bonded with lots of the students throughout the school. Also, the school I was placed in was amazing. Everyone was very friendly and made me feel welcome from day one. I have thoroughly enjoyed the course, even though it has been challenging at times. It has made me a better person.