Linda Jemison, who is currently studying her PCGE in Learning Difficulties and Disabilities, shares her experience of studying a teaching degree at Newcastle College University Centre.
I was working for a national charity as a disability support worker and I knew I wanted more of a challenge but I had family responsibilities and an unwell husband. After my husband passed, I decided to go into teaching as I had made a list of things I wanted to achieve and teaching came up as something I thought I was good at and would enjoy. I had done some low-level teaching previously after gaining my PTLLS facilitating a group of adults who all had sight loss of varying degrees.
I love working with the teenagers who come from various backgrounds. Watching them join the course with a lack of confidence but full of attitude can be daunting, then as they start to trust me, their work and behaviour improves. I love the relationships I achieve with the students as I feel this goes a long way to keep them engaged with education. I am so proud when they gain units for an accredited qualification and move forward with apprenticeships, placements or other courses we offer.
The support from the tutors at the teaching course especially during lockdown was the keystone that kept everything going. The coursework was relevant and matched the real-life factors of teaching LDD students. The placement experience was used extensively within the coursework and new information gained throughout the course could be used within the classroom settings. The tutors wanted all the students to succeed and this was evident in their availability and support given. This was a chance to see how effective and important a good tutor can be for a student.
The bursary was vital and very much appreciated as it gave me the freedom to concentrate on my studies and took some of the financial burden away. Not having to worry as much about rent or bills meant I could put more into the course and my placement.
The course was hard work and working as a tutor is even harder but I choose to push myself as taking risks and working hard is the only way to move forward. I want to succeed as losing my husband showed me how quick we can lose everything and I wanted my sons to know we can still move forward and find happiness. I take this attitude into the classroom and encourage my students to find the positive in their situations and in their education/work choices.
I have no immediate plans for changing where I am teaching but I would in the future like to work teaching Health and Social Care as this was my field for a long time and I feel a good course is vital to the skills and qualities needed to work in this intense area.
For those who have not yet decided to go into teaching, take the risk, move forward and find the positives. Being part of a student’s life even for a short time and watching them succeed is a massive positive experience and makes the hard work worth it.