Stephen - PGCE Secondary History

Stephen worked in a supermarket for ten years whilst studying part time for a degree, before going on to his PGCE at UWE to fulfil his ambition to teach.

What was the most enjoyable aspect of your course?

The most enjoyable aspect of the course has been the time spent on placement in schools. Having the opportunity to work with young people and assume responsibility for their learning has been very rewarding and enjoyable.

You took part in the Medieval Fair at Chepstow; what did you get out of it?

At Chepstow I played the role of a historical character - I had to explain my job and role in the building of Chepstow Castle in the Middle Ages to visiting pupils (I was a stone mason). What did I get out of the event? It was great to see young people outside of the classroom and help them learn in a different way. It was also a lot of fun playing the role of a historical character and trying to encourage pupils to picture Chepstow Castle as it was when in use. Working with other subject groups was worthwhile as it broadened my own understanding of education.

What did you learn from your placements during your PGCE course?

I have learnt a vast amount from my time in school this year. In the main, I have learnt how to use history to provide pupils with a challenging, varied and enjoyable learning experience. Specifically, I have really added to my subject knowledge, both in topics that I am familiar with and also in topics that I have never studied before. I have also acquired a firm understanding of how to manage a class effectively and how to get the most out of the students I teach - this includes aspects of teaching such as behaviour management, assessment and differentiation. In addition, I have learnt how enjoyable, challenging and rewarding it is to work with young people.

What support did you get at UWE?

I have received professional support from UWE, particularly from my subject mentor who has been a source of assistance and advice when needed - from help with lesson activities to job interviews. I also received financial support from UWE in the form of a bursary that was very helpful!

What are your future career plans?

I have secured a teaching job so my aim is to use the next few years to establish myself as a proficient classroom teacher. Before I began the course I had completed a year working as a Cover Supervisor in a school. Before this, I undertook my undergraduate studies at the Open University while working as a Duty Manager in a supermarket for ten years.

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