“Seeing myself grow as a person and a teacher has been rewarding”
Aymie Brown, a PGCE Secondary Business Education trainee, shares her experience of studying at Manchester and how the course has helped her build her confidence both as a person and a teacher. To find out more about Initial Teacher Education at Manchester, click here to head over to our website.
On choosing PGCE at Manchester
I chose to study at The University of Manchester as it is a Russell Group university and after looking into the course it was clear that the University and the tutors would prepare us well for our placements and for next year when we have to teach a larger timetable. I am also from Manchester so the University is close to home, where I can get the support I need from family and friends.
On University days and placements
We spend the first few weeks in University, before starting the first placement – this allows you the time to understand the requirements of the course and the standards that you have to meet as a teacher.
You must complete 121 days on placement which is where you spend most of your time. The other 58 days are university days.
You complete two contrasting placements on your PGCE. One of my placements was within a comprehensive school and the other was at a college. The two placements allowed me to see how different institutions work and allowed me to teach different specifications across different year groups. Throughout my placements, my university mentor was available to support me with any queries I had, and we had regular check-in calls to discuss my progress.
I would recommend that anyone completing their PGCE gets involved with extracurricular activities available to them while on placement. Involving yourself in these activities allows you to feel more immersed within the school and you can develop relationships with the students outside of the classroom, which will benefit you with behaviour management when you are teaching. I chose to support year 7 and 8 book club, as I teach KS4 and 5, so I wanted the opportunity to speak to students in the younger years and develop my understanding of the progression through school.
On my highlights
The highlight of my training has been seeing myself grow as a person and a teacher, building confidence within myself and my students has been so rewarding and has made the hard days easier.
Another highlight has been the friendships I have made on the course. I would recommend that anyone completing their PGCE, get to know the people on their course as you can support each other throughout and create friendships you can take forward into life.
On my challenges
The most challenging part of my training has been having confidence in myself and my abilities. Throughout the course, we discuss our targets and receive feedback from mentors and other teachers, it is key that you are resilient and take any feedback as constructive and act on the feedback to develop as a teacher.
On my student experience
My student experience so far has been both challenging and rewarding. Completing a PGCE is different from a normal postgraduate course, as you are on placement for most of your time and it often feels as if you are a full-time student as well as in a full-time job.
The best thing about living and studying in Manchester is the opportunities available. You can work in schools that have a mix of students from all different backgrounds. I live at home with my family, and therefore I have a good support network around me, which has benefited me during my PGCE when it has been challenging.
On my top tips
My main tips for future students would be:
- Take any opportunities you can get while on placements – make the most of your time by organising observations, participating in extracurriculars, and getting involved with school events.
- Be organised and manage your time well – the course is very intense but worth it, if you stay on top of your assignments and planning it will run a lot smoother.
- Support fellow trainees on the course and in turn they will support you.
- Enjoy it – teaching is one of the most rewarding careers out there.
On my future
After graduation, I will be starting my first post as a business studies teacher in a school. Completing my PGCE has been challenging and has allowed me to develop my resilience as a person and a teacher, which I will take forward in my teaching. The intensity of the course, although difficult at times, means that when I start my first teaching job, I will be ready for the increased workload.