Since completing my undergraduate degree, I had been working as a freelance musician. However, due to the global pandemic, I had lost a lot of work and had no idea when things would pick up again. During the lockdowns, I began teaching a few one-to-one music lessons online and absolutely loved it. This made me realise I wanted to focus more on teaching, and so I began looking for a good PGCE course.
I looked at a lot of universities and colleges around the North East that were offering a PGCE, but it wasn’t until I attended an online Open Day that I made the decision that the University of Sunderland was right for me. I had the opportunity to chat to the programme leader for the PGCE PCET, as well as other staff on the course. They answered all my questions and filled me with confidence that I was making the right choice. The University just felt right from then on – even before I enrolled, I could email the student helpline if I had any queries and they were so helpful with their responses.
There have been many favourite moments for me throughout the duration of the course, but the subject specialism sessions that my academic tutor held were amazing. It’s been wonderful to chat with fellow student teachers from all backgrounds – music, performing arts, fashion studies, SEND, and even equine studies! I realised how important it is to learn from other teachers and those sessions have been really beneficial when it comes to shaping my teaching.
During my work placement, I was offered a job teaching music to SEND learners. Now I’ve finished my PCET, I will be continuing to work with these learners at Gateshead College, as well as work with a teaching agency during the remaining weekdays to provide music lessons, and learning and curriculum support in schools, colleges and academies. When I joined the PGCE PCET, I knew very little about teaching and education itself. Everything I have been taught, I now apply to my work on a daily basis – one thing in particular being classroom management and the expectations of learners. When planning every lesson, I ask myself, “how can I push the higher achieving learners but support those with less experience? How can I get everybody involved?”
My advice to anybody thinking of studying at the University of Sunderland would be to try and attend an Open Day if you can, even if it’s an online event like mine was. If you’re unable to do that, reach out to the student helpline and they’ll put you in touch with a representative from the course you’re interested in. I think it’s so important to get to know what you’ll be studying and what you’ll get out of your course. Plus, there could be some exciting opportunities you might miss when browsing the University website. When I attended the online Open Day, I discovered so much about becoming a teacher from the academic staff that I became more determined than ever. They listed all the opportunities I could undertake after graduating, which really opened my eyes and gave me a great sense of optimism
I have learned a lot during my time at the University, whether it be from academic tutors or just from talking to my peers. I came with the intention of making some major changes in my life and to branch out, and I have enjoyed every experience.”
Published 21 July 2022