Education placements – experience in the workplace

Originally I’m from Edinburgh and I came to Dundee three and a half years ago for the course, and I have loved all of it. The course is not just about teaching in a primary school, you do have that placement in second year where you can go anywhere you want, you can do anything you want, so I went to Edinburgh Zoo, because I do really love animals, so that was a really good chance for me to go out and get some different experience as well. People went to New Zealand, Spain, all over the world. People did outdoor education, people went into prisons, like all sorts of things, you get really, really great experience, that I don’t really think you’d get in another university. You always get a range of experience as well, so I’ve had primary seven, I’ve had primary one and now I’ve got primary five in the middle, so that’s great as well. And then you’ve also got the theoretical side of it as well at the University, so you’re not constantly out, you do get to spend time with your cohort and you do get quite close to everyone as well, which is really nice. It’s helped me become a more confident teacher. If I think about myself back in first year, I just remember how terrified I was to stand in front of that primary seven class and try and teach them things I had only just learned myself the night before. So yeah, it’s massively increased my confidence, which I think is one of the most important things in being a teacher, to be honest. It is all very hands on, like the things that you’re learning in first semester and leading up to that, that’s when you actually… it’s all very well writing an essay on them, but that’s when you actually put it into practice and that’s where you pick up on a lot of different things, and it is a very beneficial experience. The fact that it’s in first year as well helps you a lot because at that point it is very… it’s not a make or break experience as such, but it kind of cements the fact that if you want to be a teacher, then that helps you decide or not, but if not, then there’s still sort of other directions that you can go, and that’s the good thing about this degree is that it’s very sort of flexible in what you can do after you graduate. And the Learning from Life placement, going into that I was a bit sort of hesitant, I thought right can I just skip this and get back into the primary school, but then when you actually go into it’s just a totally different experience. There’s so much that you can take from it. Maggies, for example, is a very different environment to work in from a primary school, but the things you can take, the people that work there and the things that you can learn from them, it’s just amazing. The sort of people skills that I gained from it and the ability to almost like counsel people who are going through difficult issues or different experiences, the ability to actually speak to them when they’re needing help, that’s something that I can take and use in sort of everyday life as well as when I’m teaching kids, who are maybe going through something difficult at home. So that experience, and I still keep in touch with them and everything and go up and see them, so it is a very worthwhile experience, despite the fact that you might not think so to start with, it was brilliant.

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