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Case Study

Olena Puchko

Kyiv, Ukraine

PGCE Education (DL)

Working as a maths teacher in her home country of Ukraine, Olena Puchko wanted to develop her skills and knowledge to enhance her career prospects as an educator. She chose to come to Sunderland to study for the PGCE Education (DL), which she knew was a sought-after teaching qualification by many employers. Olena has particularly enjoyed learning more about problem-based learning and praises the academic staff for their unwavering guidance and high levels of expertise.

I graduated from the Ukrainian State Pedagogical University and Kyiv State Linguistic University, having completed the Cambridge Assessment and International Baccalaureate to enable me to teach international mathematics. For the last six years, I’ve worked at the British International School Ukraine (BISU) teaching maths, and before that, I taught at some of the best Ukrainian state schools.

I decided to come to Sunderland to study for the PGCE Education (DL) as it meant I could secure an international teaching qualification while continuing to learn, grow professionally, and expand my teaching horizons. The course allows me to stay current with educational theories, practices, and methodologies, and being a degree that’s often sought after by educational institutions, having this qualification should also enhance my employment prospects. The University of Sunderland PGCE is renowned for being a desired, trusted, and prestigious degree internationally.

It's difficult to choose my favourite thing about the course – I like everything! The module content is great and so logically structured; I’m enjoying the meetings with my personal academic tutor and collaborating with my course mates; and all the seminars, lectures, and learning materials are engaging and meaningful. The course offers a very supportive environment which is crucial for distance learning students who might be working and studying at the same time.

I already feel much more confident in terms of teaching – each day on the course gives me the tools to become a better teacher. My main career aim is to secure a position as a maths teacher while working for international schools, so I can offer the highest quality of education to students. I’m also interested in mentoring, conducting workshops, and participating in educational conferences. I have a genuine passion for education and a desire to contribute to the development and learning of my students, and the PGCE is providing me with the necessary skills and knowledge to become an effective educator.

Because of this course, my interest has grown in problem-based learning. This approach introduces real-world problems to make maths more relevant and applicable to everyday life. Students can see the practical application of mathematical concepts in solving authentic problems, catering to many different learning styles. This allows them the flexibility to explore problems at their own level, promoting personalised learning experiences and helping to motivate them.

My advice to anybody thinking of training to be a teacher would be to stay positive and believe in yourself – teaching is a constant stream of decisions which will keep you on your toes but it’s rewarding at the same time! My experience studying at Sunderland so far has been extremely positive. The PGCE Education (DL) encourages reflective practice, helping students to develop a deeper understanding of teaching methods and fostering continuous improvement. The guidance, support, and encouragement from the teaching team has been invaluable, and the knowledge they’ve shared has inspired a profound appreciation for the art of teaching. They’re not just educators, but mentors, role models, and champions of education!”

Published 20 December 2023

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