Life Lessons from a PGCE student
Written by Aled
“I hadn’t always wanted to be a teacher, in fact far from it. However, as the pandemic raged on in 2020, and employment opportunities dried up, I thought I would give it a go. I had worked with young people before, and had loved it, but still wasn’t sure whether teaching was the career for me. Nevertheless, I did my research, and stumbled along the PGCE Economics and Business course at Manchester and fell in love with it immediately.
When I completed my application, I sought advice from the ‘Get into Teaching’ website. It is packed full of useful resources, and I was allocated a mentor who helped me craft my application and start my journey into teaching. I cannot recommend this resource enough. After clicking send on my application, I was soon invited to interview over Zoom, whilst also completing a written Economics exam and lesson plan task. I was terrified for the interview, as it this point, I was so set on the course, but looking back, there was nothing to worry about. The interview was a great opportunity to discuss the course and what to expect, as well as my own experience and why I was passionate about teaching. I was soon offered a place and began to wait with anticipation for my start in September.
Before I started the course, it was my aim to get the most experience working with young people as possible, in order to put me in good stead for September. It is a common misconception that classroom experience is essential before applying for a PGCE. Whilst it is certainly valuable, any work with young people is still going to be a massive help for your start in teaching. I gained experience working in a variety of fields – summer play schemes, after school activities and tutoring.
Another big adjustment when you begin the course, is certainly the workload. Teaching, is famously, a busy and unpredictable profession, particularly in your first few years. However, if you stay on top of your work, and stay organised, you can still maintain a good work-life balance. Making time for hobbies in your time after school is really important for your wellbeing and happiness. There are various opportunities on the PGCE course, such as PGCE football and netball teams, but anything as simple as grabbing a coffee with a friend can be a good opportunity to take a breather from a busy school week.
My number one advice for those thinking about doing a PGCE is ensure that teaching is something you are passionate about and will enjoy. It is such a rewarding profession but can be really challenging at times. A PGCE is probably going to be the most ‘full on’ year of your life so it’s important that you are ready to work hard and reap the rewards. And finally, enjoy it! I’ve met some of the best people on this course, and working with young people will make you laugh, cry and a whole lot more. Celebrate the good days, and don’t dwell on the bad days. I hope you’ll have the same experience as me, which is finding an amazing profession for the rest of your life. In the words of Pablo Picasso, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away”.