I actually originally applied to study Midwifery, but later on I started to change my mind. One of my tutors at college mentioned that they thought I would make a really good teacher, so I went and did some work experience in a secondary and a primary school. Overall I just really loved the whole primary school environment, and found the mix of fun and learning, as well as the scope for teaching in different ways, really interesting.
After my experience in the primary school I decided to wait and apply for a university place through clearing, and got a place on the BA (Hons) Primary Education Studies course at ARU!
There have been so many fantastic aspects of the course. We’ve been on trips to museums, had the chance to attend conferences (such as one on education and environmental sustainability), and been visited by guest speakers from primary teaching so that we can learn from their experience, knowledge and expertise.
One of the most interesting topics we’ve looked at is how education has changed over time, including how different theorists have influenced it in different ways. Seeing how much has changed, as well as how many of those theorists are still influencing education today, is so interesting!
My dissertation topic has also been influenced by so many things that we’ve studied throughout the course, and I can’t wait to put what I’ve learned into my own piece of research.
There is no compulsory work placement, but we’re encouraged to get relevant work experience if we can as it can help after the course – whether you’re applying for jobs or for postgraduate study.
During second year I did a month long placement in a primary school, and have continued there one day a week in third year, which has been really valuable. Having the chance to see things we’ve learned put into practice, and learning from the teachers, has really helped with my assignments. For example, I recently had the opportunity to go along on a school trip to a farm, where I was able to see lots of behaviour management in action!
For me, seeing the real-life challenges and rewards of teaching has really helped me make an informed choice about my future, and given me the opportunity to see how the course has been preparing me for teaching throughout.
I’ll be going on to do a Primary PGCE and have been offered a place at the University of Cambridge! The interview was tough but the mock-interviews we held in second year really gave me a confidence boost.
I’m really looking forward to taking everything I’ve learned at ARU and building on this at postgraduate level. The subject knowledge that you get with the degree is so relevant and I really feel like it will give me a head start when I begin my teacher training.
By the end of first year everything started to fit together and I realised I was really enjoying the course. I particularly enjoyed the subject knowledge modules in English, maths and science, and building that subject and curriculum knowledge made me realise I knew more than I thought!
Overall the support from tutors has been invaluable, and each and every one of them has had an impact on my decision to become a teacher. They’ve really kept me motivated throughout the course and inspired me to pursue this as a career.
Everything in the course, from lectures to assignments, is relevant to practice. For example, we have the opportunity to create our own lesson plans, and although there is no compulsory placement as part of the course, we still got to practice delivering our classes to the rest of the group.
Every year the course builds up your subject knowledge to prepare you for life after the course, whether that’s to go on to primary school teaching or not. The course is really open, so everyone goes on to do different things – it’s the insight into primary education that’s key.
Just getting started! It’s gone really quickly but at the same time I’m ready to start my career and put everything I’ve learned into practice. Going from being a student to being and professional in education is exciting and a little bit scary, but mainly exciting.
I’m also really enjoying doing my own research and I would love to continue this later in my career with a larger research project.
In five years I’d still want to be teaching in a primary school, and would love to potentially be a subject leader.
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher since I was very little, so I started volunteering at a local Brownie group while I was at sixth form, and also volunteered in some local schools. I just really enjoyed helping the children learn new skills that they could take with them for the rest of their lives, and it’s making that difference that made me want to become a teacher.
I also really enjoy being in education – writing essays, doing my own research and finding out new things, so university was definitely the right option for me!
My favourite part of the course has been developing my subject knowledge in English and maths, and having the opportunity to practice skills for the workplace, like reading stories and planning lessons, because I know they’ll be useful to me in the future.
I’ve volunteered in a whole range of primary schools in cities and in more rural areas, which has given me a real insight into the dynamics and challenges of different teaching environments. The more work experience I’ve had, the more I’ve realised that there isn’t one set way of teaching, and that as a teacher you have to adapt the way that you teach to suit the class that you’re in on the day.
Not only has work experience helped with my assignments, especially those focused on child development, but I’ve also been able to bring what I’ve learned on the course into the classroom and better support the children that I’ve been working with.
I’ve always known that I wanted to become a teacher so I wanted to apply for a Primary PGCE once I’d completed the course.
I decided to give applying to the University of Cambridge a go, and I’ve now got a conditional offer to study there!
The biggest thing the course has done for me is reinforce the fact I wanted to become a teacher, and show me that I had the ability to teach.
The teaching staff at ARU have always supported me and others on the course and given us the confidence to investigate study or career options we might not have previously considered, which is ultimately why I decided to apply to Cambridge.