What teacher training route did you choose and why?
Before going to University, I had very little intention of becoming a mathematics teacher. However, during the second year of my undergraduate mathematics degree, I attended various careers fairs and presentations which displayed a wide range of possible future pathways. These included careers within the financial sector, statistical analysis, and computational mathematics such as coding. However, the presentations that got me most enthusiastic and passionate were delivered by various teaching organisations such as Teach First and the university’s PGCE mentor.
I had always considered taking a Year in Industry as part of my undergraduate degree and now with mathematics teaching firmly at the forefront of my plans, I actively search for placements. It is in fact extremely unusual for placements to be offered to undergraduate in teaching. However, I contacted one of my previous mathematics teachers and gained a placement as a learning and progress intervention mentor. I can safely say that it was one of the most enjoyable and quickest academic years of my life so far. Despite it being one of the most challenging things I had ever done, there was certainly never a dull day. It was an amazing experience for me to be able to manage a small classroom of pupils and have the opportunity to build relationships and facilitate learning.
During my placement, I was fortunate to discover that the school also ran its own Initial Teacher Training (ITT) programme in partnership with the University of Sheffield. After speaking in depth with the course manager, I established that this course provided me with a very good balance. As well as completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE), I would also have the opportunity to be placed in two different schools, as well as participate in a primary school experience and an educational enrichment experience. For me personally, it offered a mix of theory-based learning which I had not had much chance to do as well as the practice in schools. The course manager really took time out to talk to me and answer my questions about the course. Therefore, I felt that the course was explained to me in great detail, which allowed me to make the judgement that the course did indeed suit my requirements.
However, the course was extremely competitive. Therefore, after returning to university for the final year of my undergraduate degree, I prepared my application thoroughly and in advance, obtaining an interview spot and gaining a conditional place.
By Connor Rollo