Education, for the dedicated and passionate can become a noble and rewarding profession. We can all look back on our schooling at that teacher or school staff member who made a lasting difference to our lives. Whether it was to inspire us, console us, understand us or go the extra mile. Sometimes a small action such as simply believing in a student can make all the difference.
Teaching as a profession has changed in many ways from the days of the gown clad mortar board wearing teachers, and, as we arrive well in to the 21st century, education itself has changed. The classroom of today has become more dynamic, demanding and notably busier. Moreover, it is fair to say your education is only as a good as your teacher, and with that we welcome Claire Wright and Jamie Pullin, two recent Higher Education graduates, who, with great excitement, leave us to become the generation of educators. Claire had previously been working as a teaching assistant, so is well aware of the challenging yet rewarding nature of working in education. Already thriving in her role, Claire wanted to step up and become a teacher, all while in the midst of a global pandemic that has put strain on school staff and students alike. We asked Claire why she chose New College to study and complete her Degree.
"I had been working as a Teaching Assistant and finally felt that I was ready to make the move into teaching. As a mother to two children, I knew that studying, working and parenting was going to require me to juggle my time. This course has enabled me to continue to work whilst I study with the educational pedagogy and theory supporting my professional development. The course tutors are incredibly supportive and knowledgeable about the areas they teach. They motivate you to achieve your best. The course enables you to further explore theories previously taught and delve deeper into areas of education that are of personal interest, whilst collaborating with peers."
Obviously, with the past year, the pandemic and the lengths schools across the UK had to go to ensure students still had access to their education we ask, how do you feel about education now?
"Currently, there are many issues facing education right now. Witnessing first-hand the dedication from teachers to adapt to the current pandemic has been interesting. Teacher workload has increased. However, teachers have found many solutions to the challenges they face. I believe the education system requires additional funding to support children and young people to access the support they require to achieve their goals. The current situation has not deterred me in my pursuit to become a teacher, if anything it has encouraged me further."
Now you have you have achieved your BA (hons) in Education and Lifelong Learning what are your next steps?
"I hope to achieve a good grade from this degree course that will enable me to go on to a SCITT (School Centred, Initial, Teacher, and Training) course in September that I already have a conditional offer. My final aspiration is to be a passionate and supportive teacher, who will be able to inspire the pupils that I will teach."
Finally, what would you tell others hoping to enrol on a course like yours?
"The workload is big but manageable, be kind to yourself and remind yourself why you are doing this. Break assignments down into manageable chunks and prioritise tasks. Finally, enjoy it, even though it is hard work as the sense of achievement when you hand in an assignment never gets old."
We wish Claire every success with her SCITT course, and her career in teaching.
Jamie who has achieved a Foundation Degree in Educational Practice has already had a decade spanning career in education despite being twenty-one. He started off helping out his childminder with his younger peers, then when he was in Year 6 Jamie would help out with reception classes over school lunchtimes. Jamie also helped at a primary school during his sixth-form education to gain valuable experience. In addition, he currently works as a learning assistant alongside his studies. Now it would seem, Jamie is on the route to realising a lifelong ambition and gain a qualification that can lead him on to qualified teacher status.
We asked Jamie why he had decided to get in to teaching.
"I want to become a primary school teacher where I can shape the future of the children that I have the privilege of teaching. You always remember your primary school teacher; I want to be the one they remember - I’m going to have an impact on a child’s life, for the rest of their life that will leave me knowing I have fulfilled my dream”.
Certainly noble aspirations and we hope you are able to achieve your goals moving forward. Finally, with all that has happened this past year, the effect it has had on education, especially on primary schools, how do you view education now?
"I think everyone is going through a hard time at the moment. Teachers have not stopped throughout the pandemic and have continued to teach some children in schools and others virtually. The last 12 months have been a challenging time for children and teachers who have all had to adapt to the ever- changing face of education. I think parents have done a great job in trying to teach children from home, with teachers assistance, but now they are back to school it is all about catching up to ensure that no child is left disadvantaged long term due to the pandemic."
Working as a teacher, instructor or classroom staff member, is a job that presents challenges, and can demand a great deal from those who choose it as a profession, a true educator is a performer able to engage learners in the theatre of the classroom, passionate and a lifelong learner. Einstein himself once said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge”. The influence of a great teacher extends in to the future, and we anticipate great things from both Claire and Jamie. Congratulations both and good luck!