What teacher training route did you choose and why?
You will probably be told numerous times that your initial teacher training year is going to be one of the most intensive years of your life. So, in order to make sure that the year goes as smoothly as possible, finding the right training provider for you is essential!
I started my search by looking at the various routes I could take to get into teaching. I very quickly decided that I wanted to take the traditional university-based PGCE route, as opposed to a school-based route such as School Direct or SCITT.
There are 3 main reasons why I personally felt more drawn to a PGCE:
Firstly, more time is spent attending lectures. These lectures provide a lot of background knowledge on topics such as the curriculum and the science behind learning. Whilst you will obviously gain a huge amount of skills and knowledge on placement, I think an academic understanding of how young people think and learn can be nothing but beneficial, and will definitely help improve the way you teach. So, a good mix of academic and on-the-job learning was very important to me.
Secondly, PGCE courses offer 2 long placements at 2 contrasting schools. So, you essentially get 2 chances at finding a school placement that is suited to you, whereas if you end up not liking the school-based provider that you choose, you’re pretty much stuck. Going on 2 placements will also give you experience of a wider range of pedagogical methods, and will provide you with the skills to teach a wider range of children with differing behaviour and attainment.
Finally, you will be part of a large cohort of people who are going through the same thing as you. Spending time with your peers, sharing resources, experiences and advice, is so incredibly valuable, and is something that a university-based programme will easily allow you to do.
Once I had decided that I wanted to do a PGCE, I applied to universities based on location. Almost anyone will tell you that it really doesn’t matter where you undertake your teacher training, especially for a shortage subject like maths. So, I highly recommend choosing a provider based on where you want to live and where you feel comfortable, rather than worrying about things like league tables.
Ultimately, however, it is important to remember that all training routes are valid. There are no training routes that are objectively better than others, it is a completely personal choice. So, go and get some school experience, talk to anyone you can about how their training year went, and just make sure you do your research!
By Eloise Sear