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Case Study: Robert

Personal details
Degree:MA (Hons) Psychology Profile picture
School(s): School of Psychology and Neuroscience
Year of Graduation:Jun-2009
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: n/a
Job title: Trainee Primary Teacher (PGCE)
Occupational Sector: Teaching
What has been your route to getting your current position?

I came to St Andrews with little idea about what I wanted to do as a career and it was through the many extra-curricular activities at university that I decided that primary teaching was the job for me. Firstly, attending talks put on by the Psychology Society by many psychology professionals (and academics) made me realise that whilst I loved psychology, I didn’t want to spend my day-to-day life practicing/studying it. My thoughts then turned to teaching after I helped to set up some coaching sessions as part of the korfball club, for local children at an after-school scheme. My natural assumption was that I’d be interested in secondary teaching, so I took part in one of the university’s tutoring/mentoring schemes, where I mentored a Year 7 student with learning difficulties in a local secondary school. I also began volunteering at a breakfast club in a local primary school to gain more experience of working with children.

However, it was only when I spent my summer working on a summer camp in America for children with emotional and behavioural problems that I realised I was much more suited working with the younger, primary age children. This tallied with the previous experience and back in St Andrews I took part in the student tutoring scheme again, this time in a local primary school. I loved this experience and it confirmed my decision to pursue a primary teaching career.

In my final two years I took part in activities that would help develop skills that would be useful in teaching, whether running an organisation as Director of Nightline, or taking every opportunity to speak in public that I could (including a talk for PsychSoc to sub-honours psychology students called ‘How to Survive 3rd Year Psychology Without Going Crazy’!).

This set me in good stead for the application process, and after much preparation and with help from the careers service (eg reading through my personal statement), I begin a primary PGCE in September and can’t wait to get started!

What does your job involve ?
What are the best bits of your job ?
Why were you successful?
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?