PGCE Secondary History alumna Emma on her first year of teaching
Emma Hollis completed her PGCE Secondary in History at The University of Manchester in 2021 and is now employed as Secondary Teacher of History. She has recently shared her experience studying on the course and has now caught us up on how her first year of teaching has been.
On my current job role
I was employed by my first placement school towards the end of the academic year after a training year somewhat disrupted by COVID-19. I have almost completed my first ECF year at my school and have learned so much as a teacher, as well as getting involved in school trips, extracurricular programs, and promoting equality and diversity across the school.
I am responsible for a slightly reduced timetable of teaching within the History Department, and was a year 11 form tutor. The PGCE course did an excellent job of incrementally preparing me for the workload of a full time teacher, as well as effectively managing admin, meeting the teaching standards, and being responsible for my role within the school.
On my experience prior to my training
I was working in a teaching-related position in Japan. I knew I wanted to learn to be a teacher, and the course at Manchester is what sold me – I haven’t looked back! I was impressed by the course mentor Tom’s openness, passion about the subject and teaching, and his support of me as a teacher entering the profession, and as an immigrant.
The assignments and academic side of things prepared me for thinking in an objective and evidence-based way about effective teaching. The delivery from my course mentor opened my eyes to the breadth, scope, and debates of History teaching in the UK, and I learned about a range of things from misconceptions in Holocaust teaching, to teaching children whose first language is not English. Tom’s passion for the subject and for our success shone through during the whole course and there was never any doubt that we would become excellent, responsible, creative and passionate teachers of History.
On my key takeaways
My key takeaway has been about how much of teaching (and life!) is about collaboration. Hoarding resources and ideas doesn’t help anyone. The cooperation and sharing of resources amongst my PGCE cohort was so helpful and lead to a lot of fantastic ideas that never would have happened otherwise, and I’ve taken that approach to my professional career.
On my career to students considering teacher training
Do it! But do it well – establish a good foundation of a healthy work-life balance, and routines, and build up from there.