Case Study

Laura Tokell

Sunderland, UK

MA Education (Generic)


Having known since she was young that she wanted to teach, Laura Tokell always had ambitions of eventually going to university. Laura enjoyed her experience while taking on BA (Hons) Primary Education so much that she had no hesitation in applying for her masters course in education and now she plans to teach at primary level as she feels prepared after gaining experience during her placements and the outstanding marks she earned.

From the outset of considering universities for my BA, Sunderland stood out from the crowd as they liaised with local colleges to ensure you are prepared for the interview process and know what your desired course entails. This, as well as excellent reviews on both the support and teaching provided by Sunderland,  swayed me towards the University.

As I progressed through my BA I did experience lots of challenges and was supported every step of the way by Disability Services, tutors and many other services within the University. I enjoyed my experience so much that I had no hesitation in applying for my masters course in education.

My main reason for choosing Sunderland for my MA was the relationships I built with tutors and staff. To me, in education, there is nothing more important than building a trusting relationship with your students so that they have confidence in your ability to teach and guide them, as well as faith in you when it comes to pastoral issues.

I always felt I could approach any tutor for help and had faith that they would provide support or pass me onto the person or service who could assist me best if they were not able to. 

Having known since I was young that I wanted to teach I always had ambitions of eventually going to university. However, I was not always sure of the type of teaching I would like to do, which is why I chose to go into work first. 

I worked in various different positions in retail as a Customer Service Holiday Representative. All of this experience which was heavily based around working with families made me realise that I love to work with children and would like to teach at Primary School Level. I came back to the UK and started teaching unemployed adults vocational studies, functional skills, and employability skills.

This built my confidence in my ability to teach but also cemented the desire to teach young children. I knew, from seeing the struggles my adult learners experienced, that I wanted to give people the right start in education from the very beginning.

There are several best aspects of my BA course. The tutors who were extremely skilled and knowledgeable but very down to earth and on a level with there students. 

The way the course was taught. We were split into groups like a primary class and given a mix of theoretical teaching to help us understand why certain methods and pedagogies are used in the classroom, as well as being shown and taking part in practical lessons we could teach the children. This was all done with reference to theory and the national curriculum.

Placements which were built up gradually over the years gave us a chance to progress and were structured in a way which made you feel like you were being challenged as a student teacher but not thrown in at the deep end. 

The specific employment support provided within year three which is aimed towards the teaching profession. 

On the MA course, the tutors are superb with regards to relevant course knowledge and skills but unlike some other Universities, they do not enforce total independence meaning you feel able to approach them whenever you need guidance.

I was afraid that there would not be enough practical aspects to this course, however I was pleasantly surprised to find sessions organised in a way which brings together many learning styles in order that every student is afforded the best opportunity to understand how the content being taught relates practically to assignments and ultimately to roles in educational employment.

Take every opportunity to be supported. Even if you feel you don’t need it, university is very different from other levels of study and it does take time to get used to it. Make use of the societies and services around university. This is a time in your life when you will be presented with more opportunities to try new things than any other time.

I plan to teach at the primary level, once I have finished my masters degree. I feel the teaching experience I have gained during my placements, the outstanding marks I earned and the over 2:1 grade I achieved have prepared me well for this."

Published 14 June 2019

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