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Case Study: Vicki

Personal details
Degree:Maths and Stats Profile picture
School(s): School of Mathematics and Statistics
Year of Graduation:Jun-2004
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: n/a
Job title: Teacher
Occupational Sector: Teaching
What has been your route to getting your current position?

I gained experience in the classroom as a Teaching Assistant for 3 years and then completed a Primary PGCE before becoming a qualified teacher.

What does your job involve ?

Planning, Teaching and Assessing lessons, being responsible for a class of pupils.

What are the best bits of your job ?

The amazing talent of children to make every day different, although not easy! My favourite part of teaching is the moment when a child who finds learning difficult clicks with something, and realises that they have got it. The excitement and joy they get from being good at something is wonderful.

Why were you successful?

Having experience in the classroom was the most useful think in getting onto the PGCE course. Having a maths degree was useful too, as maths is such an important subject in schools. I also play the clarinet and piano and am involved in a couple of musical groups. This helped me to get onto the PGCE course, and also to get a job; schools are always looking for someone who can play the piano!

What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?

Obviously, you aren’t likely to find many primary-aged children who are at degree level, so I am unable to use my subject knowledge as a teacher; however the general skills of being a student are useful. You definitely need to be organised, hard working and flexible, which are skills I learned during my time at St Andrews. Any extra-curricular activities you enjoy are really important too, as a lot of schools look for teachers who can run an after-school club.

What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?

Make sure it is definitely something you want to do. There is a lot more work involved then the 9-3 hours that some people imagine it to be. It would be really useful to go and observe some teachers in the classroom and speak to them about how they find the workload. Every teacher is different and some spend longer on their work than others. However it is extremely important to make sure that you keep up your social life outside of work, as you really need something to make you switch your mind off the job! It really is a brilliant job. You get to work with people who won’t judge you and will make you laugh even when everything is going completely wrong (which it will from time to time), you will never work the same day twice and the holidays are fabulous!