PGCE student, Danielle Whittle is doing her teacher training here at the University Centre, Wigan & Leigh College.

Having got her psychology degree from Lancaster University, she worked in insurance for a few years. However, she discovered that the career path wasn’t for her.

It did however provide her the opportunity to run some training sessions from which she found teaching was more of a passion.

We sat down with Danielle to find out what it’s like to be a teacher trainer studying PGCE:

What happens before you start the course?

You get a little presentation about what the course consists of and what is expected of you and from the course. We did a team exercise to discuss what the role of a teacher consists of. You then have a written task about what inspires you to be a teacher. Then there’s an informal interview to discuss what you expect from the course and other details and course information.

What has the course been like?

The course is really intense. It’s been good and is a steep learning curve. You have moments were you think it’s’ going to be hard and it’s such a roller-coaster but it’s all worth it in the end because you gain so much from it in terms of experience and my knowledge and confidence has grown so much from doing this.

What do you do on the course?

The course is split into two stages – we have to build up a portfolio of evidence which includes recording lesson plans and how many hours you’re doing. This is alongside assignments and coursework built around responsibilities of a teacher, safeguarding, behaviour management and differentiation. These are all varied in terms of what they are – for example there is a report, a presentation, a voice over presentation and action research into our own teaching practice.

We get to do a quite a few micro teaches within our peer group which helps to break the ice and grows your confidence and we get plenty of feedback from tutors and each other which helps development.

Where did you get your placement hours?

I managed to get my placement teaching hours in the Access to HE department at Wigan & Leigh College where I teach psychology and sociology two and a half days a week while being a PGCE student for two days.

What do you like about teaching?

Being able to help students and getting them from A to B. Doing everything you can to help them gain the skills and confidence they need to get to university.

Have you found a teaching role after you become newly qualified?

Yes, I secured a teaching position at Rochdale Sixth Form College which I will start after the summer holidays as a newly qualified teacher teaching A Level Psychology. I was surprised to get the job because it was A level but doing my hours on the Access course I think has opened up employability doors for me.

I have also applied to do some exam marking for AQA to get some experience in marking over summer.

I am very excited, albeit a little nervous to start my new job, but raring to go!

Would you recommend studying your PGCE here at the University Centre, Wigan & Leigh College?

I would recommend the course especially when comparing against universities. It has benefits for me because I can do my placement and studies in the same contained place and it’s local to where I live. I feel it’s very supportive and with there being small class sizes, everybody is close and you bond well and we all support each other as the course can be hard at times.

For more information about teacher training, come along to our next HE Advice and Enrolment event on 25th June. You can also register by clicking this link:

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