Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Pre-PGCE Application: What you need to do

I'm well on my way to becoming a teacher!  I've set this blog up to record my journey from application to interview, to trainee and hopefully to a fully qualified teacher!

I've come to this profession from a design background, having graduated with a Textile Design degree in 2012.  I spent the past two and a half years freelancing before settling down and pursuing a career I am very passionate about.  Teaching.

Now when I first sat down and truly began to think about embarking upon a PGCE course I didn't really know much about the process, what would be involved and how much work it would be.  My first bit of advice for those of you considering a PGCE course is to DO YOUR RESEARCH!

Little story: I came across a lady, who when she first wanted to go into teaching, merrily went to get her 10 days experience for her application but hadn't done any research into the application process and what would happen at the interviews.  She loved working with the children and got involved when she was volunteering, however, she hadn't watched the teacher at all, so when it came to applying and interviews she was way out of her depth and ended up withdrawing her application.  What a waste of a year!  Don't let this happen to you!

You can look at different courses and they will give you a little idea of what is involved but I found the best way is to trawl through forums, look on youtube and read PGCE student blogs to get a better picture (I'll be posting some of my favourites in later posts).  Find out from the people who have done it, they will be more than happy to let you know how stressful and tiring it is.  If this doesn't scare you off then maybe a PGCE is for you.

Once I'd decided that I definitely wanted to go into teaching I started to look at the requirements for these courses, three of the main ones are:

  • 2:1 in a UK Honours degree (tick)
  • At least grade C in GCSE English, Science and Maths (tick, tick, tick)
  • Have recent experience in a UK Primary School

Now most courses state 10 days experience as a minimum but my advice would be to get as much experience as you can.  A lot of applicants are teaching assistants, who have a wealth of experience, so if you are like me, a graduate from a different profession, then you need to be able to talk about what the teacher did and why they did it that way.  You need to be able to reflect on your experience and the best way to see what works and what doesn't is to observe a range of teachers, from teaching assistants, to NQT's, to teachers who have done it for years.  Also try and get experience in both Key Stages if possible (there is a huge difference in Primary School!)

I spent 5 full weeks in these schools (2 in one and 3 in the other) then continued on at one for 2 days a week and mentioned this in my personal statement as if shows a huge amount of commitment when you are just volunteering.

Lastly start to think about what skills will make you stand out, you are going into a process that is saturated with applicants who all have C's and above in their GCSE's, who have 2:1's in their degree and who have a lot of experience.  You need to bring more to the table than merely what the Universities are asking for.  Make yourself shine and take up extra curricular activities if your lacking, I'll come back to this point in a later post but for now just make sure you are thinking about what skills you can gain to give you and edge and help your application.

Sneak Peek of what is coming:
  • Lots of links to websites I have found to be extremely useful!
  • What you need to be looking at when on placements.
  • Extra curriculars and how important they are.
  • The application process
  • The interviews

If you have any questions at all then leave a comment and I will try and answer them in my future posts!

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