As part of my PGCE application it is necessary to have some school experience, so in October 2015 I started thinking about where I could get some experience. I decided to aim for as much experience as possible; within a further education setting and other places too.
I spoke to the careers department at the university and my programme leader and got in contact with Lincoln College’s Travel & Tourism department. It was a bit of a rocky road, but in January 2016 I finally started volunteering here. I also volunteered at a local youth club for kids aged 11-18. Both of these very valuable to me as a trainee teacher and I have learnt a lot from both experiences.
Here I was working alongside K. Murdoch, a Travel and Tourism lecturer at the college. I sat in on the second year BTEC Subsidiary Diploma Travel & Tourism students, and they really were a lovely group. At first I was nervous about being in a new surrounding, but they were all so welcoming and lovely and once I found my feet I soon settled in nicely. I remember on my first day having a little reminisce with Karen as she had done her Masters degree at Lincoln and we shared some of the same tutors, it was nice hearing some of her stories about her time there. I spent my first day getting to know the students and the content they were currently working on, which was Unit 10: Business Travel Operations. I remember when I did this unit, I found it really enjoyable and interesting. The students are required to develop a business travel itinerary for a fictional client.
I helped Karen in the delivery of this unit by producing handout materials for the students, with a check list of what they should include in a business itinerary as well as providing them with some examples to work from. I sat with students one to one and in groups and answered questions, read through their work and provided assistance when it was needed. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the college, and it really gave me a taste for what it will be like next year and in years to come. I feel like I have developed as a person through this experience, I have gained confidence, and managed to interact with the students on a personal and intellectual way.
When I was leaving this placement Karen said to me;
“You’re going to make an excellent teacher Claire. You have a really good tone when talking to the students. When you’re telling them what to do you do it assertively but you are also approachable and friendly at the same time”
It was an absolute honour to hear someone say those words to me, and to have noticed some of my qualities which will allow me to excel in my chosen career. I actually started to well up a little bit when she said this and it made me all emotional about leaving! Overall the experience was very beneficial and positive, and I look forward to working alongside Karen in the future possibly.
Cherry Willingham Youth Club
I found out about this youth club from the university’s student union volunteering department. I pursued this as I thought it would give me a great chance to work alongside children that aren’t necessarily the age group I want to teach, but to get experience with them. Also, I thought it would provide me with a chance to make sure I’d chosen the right age range to be teaching, better to realise my mistake now rather than later! Anyway, this opportunity hasn’t been an easy ride, and has proved to be rather challenging at times. However, I certainly think I have developed as a person after this opportunity. I have developed my communication skills and feel confident when speaking to the children, I have also developed my team working, my leadership, and my ability to control difficult situations. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here, past tense as at the end of March unfortunately the club closed down due to various issues.
I took on many responsibilities during this role, including signing the children in at the beginning of the night, taking money on the tuck shop, playing games with the children such as pool and table tennis, but also organising activities for them to take part in. One week I ran a craft session where I taught some of the children how to do folded book art. They seemed to really enjoy this, and they decorated their Christmas trees the week after with beads and pom poms. I also helped the full time youth workers organising the discos we help for special occasions, such as valentines day, Christmas, and when we closed the club. I helped with decorations, making the party food amongst other activities. When the club closure was announced I also took it upon myself with one other volunteer to attempt to keep the club open, even though we were unsuccessful due to circumstances out of our control. The club is however due to reopen under new management in the near future, and I intend to return and volunteer again as I really did enjoy it and the kids were lovely, well, most of the time anyway haha.
Right, sorry for such a long post guys! But I thought it might be nice for you to see what I have been up to in regards to my PGCE preparation. As you can see I only have minor experience, and I would have liked to get more. However, when it comes to my interviews (if I get any!) and the providers require more I have more than enough time to get some more in before next September. Hopefully this has been useful to anyone who is looking for experience in letting you know the sort of things I have done, and you might like to do. When I’ve had my interviews I’ll keep you updated about whether this was enough 😀