Cath Pinkney, PGCE, placement opportunitiesCath Pinkney was drawn to study a PGCE at London South Bank University due to the Alternative Educational Setting placement the course offered
Cath saw this as "a fantastic chance to learn new ideas to take to my first teaching job." This route provides students with two teaching placements in mainstream schools as well as an experience in a totally different setting. The diversity of experiences aims to expand the skills gained by students, with the ultimate aim of helping them become the best teachers they can.
The alternative educational placement Cath decided on was at a national charity that helps promote sustainability and global citizenship in schools. They aim to help teachers realise the importance of teaching outside the school environment and teaching children how to live in a greener way.
These were values that were reinforced while studying the course. "Another fun and extremely interesting part of the course has been the Integrated Day. I was very lucky and got to visit St Paul's Cathedral. We were given a tour of the cathedral by the Head of Education – a man who admitted he adored the place. He also spoke to us about the tours and workshops that St Paul's provide for children and schools. It was a really worthwhile day and opened my eyes to the resources and trips that are available for schools."
'Haven't stopped smiling'
Cath views the highlight of her course at LSBU as her first teaching placement. "I was lucky enough to be at a school with a really passionate Head Teacher and Assistant Head who inspired me throughout my six week placement. The teaching strategies and skills I learnt were invaluable and the confidence that the staff had in my teaching enabled me to develop both as a teacher and a professional. I was graded 'very good' at the end of the placement and haven't stopped smiling at my achievement yet!"
However, it wasn't just on placement that Cath was able to develop her skills and readiness for the classroom. English sessions were the class she most looked forward to. "My English lecturer, and other staff at South Bank, are so passionate about their subjects and really inspired me to work hard. English at LSBU includes so much, for example, lessons in the importance of visual literacy like films and videos and storytelling as an important cross-curricular and creative part of lessons."
Prepared for the classroom
The course aims to ensure students are ready to enter the classroom on graduation. Although placements are a large part of this, there are other challenges. Time management is vital for teachers and Cath believes she is now well prepared for this due to the PGCE. "I think the main challenge throughout this course has been managing my time. There is a lot to do throughout this PGCE course and I really had to focus myself to fit it all in."