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Secondary Dance | Graduated 2017
Destination: Teacher of Dance at Cockburn John Charles Academy
Lead School: Cockburn School
Placement A: Cockburn School
Placement B: Temple Moor High School
How did I prepare for studying my PGCE in Dance?
On completing my Musical Theatre degree in 2013, I initially began my journey into education by becoming an Inclusion Support Worker. This experience, supporting students with SEND and exploring the curriculum, led me to my decision to become a Secondary school teacher. This seemed like the perfect career for me because it combined two things, I was passionate about; Performing Arts and inspiring and educating young people. Once securing my place on the course, prior to starting in September, I spent time developing my subject knowledge in lots of different areas. I tried to utilise this time to ensure I was extremely confident within my subject and prepared to deliver what was asked of me in the classroom. I also tried to do as much research as possible, looking at what was relevant within my subject at the time and general teaching pedagogy that I may be able to explore and develop.
Why did you choose Leeds SCITT?
I chose Leeds SCITT as my provider for several different reasons.
When you think about training to be a teacher in Leeds, Leeds Trinity University is one of the first that comes to mind, due to its incredible reputation. What then drew me towards the Leeds SCITT course was the incredible Lead School and Placement offer. As I had already worked within schools for 3 years, a traditional PGCE route didn’t have the same appeal to me. I wanted to be in the classroom as quickly as possible, so I enjoyed the way that we had sessions delivered at local university within the initial weeks but, then spent the remainder of the course within school. In addition, I was impressed that each subject had a specialist Subject Lead Tutor. This meant that for all requirements of the course, someone with expertise in your training subject was able to provide support.
The Lead School Experience was a hands-on, informative introduction to life as a teacher. We were placed at an establishment where the Performing Arts were highly valued and were fully immersed into life at the school. Alongside this, we were offered engaging, enlightening additional CPD that fed into the programme offered by Leeds SCITT and given opportunities to explore the curriculum outside of our subject. This additional offer allowed us to experience how pedagogy and behaviour management worked across the curriculum.
I was fortunate enough to continue into Placement A at my Lead School. The gradual increase in teaching hours, responsibilities and accountably was appropriate in allowing me to feel challenged, motivated and achieve against the teacher standards. For Placement B, I was moved to another school within Leeds. Initially, I was hesitant, having been very successful in the first two stages and feeling very comfortable. However, I need not have worried. In placement B, I was again placed with a mentor who was a specialist Dance teacher and given fantastic CPD. My Lead Tutor, although now mentoring another trainee, was also always on hand and made regular contact as my Link Tutor to ensure I was continuing to make progress.
Throughout this whole process, the staff from Leeds SCITT were always there for support and guidance. Everyone involved with the programme were supportive, enthusiastic and showed a genuine level of interest and care in each trainee.
Alongside the aspects of training to be a teacher within school, you have to complete a number of assignments on the course. These assignments fit alongside your teaching within school and help to really focus your practice on key areas for development such as personalisation and planning for student progress. I found that my Master’s Level assignments were extremely topical, and didn’t feel like extra work, but instead helped to inform and develop my practice through evidence and research.
Another aspect of the course I really enjoyed was my role as student voice for the Arts Trainees. I really enjoyed having this responsibility as I felt the needs of the people on the course were really listened to and adapted the following year. This led to one of my final experiences, where I met with the trainees beginning the course the following academic year and shared top tips for success.
In conclusion, studying for my PGCE with Leeds SCITT led to me feeling confident and prepared when starting my NQT year at Cockburn John Charles Academy. During my training year, I had explored teaching (both planning and delivery) trips and visits, pastoral support as a form tutor, CPD, extra-curricular and liaising with parents. During the last four years I have continued to develop my practice based upon the foundations from my training year and am now aspirational for the future.
For anyone considering going into teaching, find your subject and be passionate about teaching it to young people. I could not imagine myself in any other career. I have found that during the toughest stages of my training year, NQT year and onwards, the biggest motivational factor is that we work with the greatest young people who want to learn from inspirational, positive teachers! My advice would be to draw upon the support of others, get organised and prepare yourself for a year of hard, but very rewarding work.
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