I became interested in teaching after realising how much I had benefited from excellent and passionate teachers. They exuded a real sense of enthusiasm for learning which inspires me to pass on that passion.
My love for RE and sociology developed during my A-levels after discovering an aptitude for writing, analysis and researching. This drove me to study more, going on to gain a 2:1 in RE and sociology from the University of England. Studying at university developed my passion for social sciences and taught me a range of academic skills which I believe are fundamentally important to teach young people. This is demonstrated in my dissertation, which was awarded a first, looking at RE teaching in secondary schools, opening my eyes to how RE and sociology give students a greater understanding of society and its place in our diverse and changing world.
While volunteering as a teaching assistant I saw the skills needed to be a great teacher one of which is leadership. My own leadership skills have developed over the years, from attending a youth club to gradually going on to lead small groups in activities. This has given me the confidence to volunteer as a teaching assistant in a mainstream school during my degree. By my final year I was able to take responsibility for running activities in the classroom, balancing the needs of each child and managing behaviour issues. In working with potentially more vulnerable students such as SEN learners I saw the role played by support staff in maintaining control of the classroom, particularly with those who can be disruptive when under stimulated. I learned the importance of differentiating lesson plans to educate and engage students with special needs and the power of strategies such as a well thought out seating plan and friendly competitiveness in learners. I saw students develop within the classroom as a result of my determined support and these good working relationships are beginning to result in higher grades. I have liaised well across a number of departments to communicate information about students in an organised and diplomatic way.
To support my professional development, alongside my studies, I undertook work placements in two other schools. Volunteering in Key Stages 1 and 2 confirmed my desire to teach Key Stages 3 and 4. I began to develop stronger skills in communication, leadership, behaviour management and knowledge of the national curriculum. Doing a second placement in my final year while balancing deadlines and dissertation research developed my time management and organisation skills. I was exposed to a range of pedagogical models and teaching methods which is something I look forward to learning more about on a PGCE.
I enjoy reading and learning about contemporary ethics and society, considering how I can use this to benefit the students I teach. While in schools I have seen the challenges and rewards present in a school environment. Teachers need to be resilient particularly when working with students who find school difficult, do not want to engage and do not want to accept support. However I look forward to working in the education system and believe I could help and inspire students to develop their future aspirations.