I have just passed my PGCE in Secondary English. I graduated from Murray Edwards this time last year and started the course at Homerton last September. It has been a really full-on year, packed with huge highs and some frankly embarrassing bloopers; so much has happened that I can’t believe it was only a year ago that I completed my undergrad degree.
The PGCE course at Cambridge synthesises school experience with university-based learning, so we were encouraged to apply educational research to our work in the classroom, and to test our own classroom experience against the theory learnt in the Faculty of Education. We completed four essays during the year, with the last being a big, dissertation-style research report.
This time last year, I never would have imagined that I’d be impersonating Alan Sugar to teach Media, smearing Year 8s with fake blood in the name of kinaesthetic learning, nor donning a moustache and learning how to stage a performance of Macbeth in a single afternoon.
The best thing by far about teaching is the vast range of brilliant people you come into contact with: you get to work with more than a hundred different people every day. I have seen some inspiring teaching and, as a result, some amazing learning; when a teacher is doing their job well, the atmosphere in the classroom can be so exciting. Young people are also just really, really funny. When my Year 10s came in and announced that they called me ‘Kibbles’, after a brand of dog-food, I knew I had really made it.
As of September 1st, I will be employed as a real-life ‘Teacher of English’, working in a school in west London. It feels strange to finally leave Cambridge after four years, but my time this year has felt quite different from my undergraduate days up on the hill. I certainly never got up at 5.45am to drive to Essex when I was at Murray Edwards, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have asked perfect strangers to tuck in their shirts in the walkway.
My aim next year is simply to survive my first year in teaching, and more importantly to enjoy the freedom (and responsibility…) of having my own classes. I hope then to apply to do an M.Ed at Homerton – and, after that, who knows…