As I come to the end of my third year in teaching I only look back with positive memories. Teaching is a profession which is going through many changes but the rewards are still huge. I am still working at the school I began my career in as an NQT and enjoying the challenges which I continue to meet day to day. I am now working in Year 6 and preparing the children for their end of key stage two assessments. Outside of teaching in the classroom I am curriculum manager for the whole school which has led to me being a member of the school's senior leadership team.
Kingston University prepared me for the different roles have taken on in this position. The school of education at the university has experienced professionals who are able to give practical advice. I still keep in touch with many of my lecturers three years down the line! They are keen to keep updated with what I am doing and support me in my career even since I have left university.
When I began at Kingston I would never have believed I would be a part of the senior leadership team at the school in such a small space of time. I knew I had the drive to get myself there but Kingston was able to provide me with the skills to support my ambition. It was a good to know I could be confident in my abilities after laying a good foundation whilst training.
Kingston University prepared me in a number of ways. I was placed in different settings which is important. Most universities will provide teaching placement in different year groups but Kingston gave me different school settings too. This was good because each school presents its own challenges. Therefore when it came to applying for jobs I could talk confidently about dealing with parents, classroom management, working alongside additional adults as well as many other issues related to teaching. I am a firm believer that classroom management is key to successful teaching and I gained these skills whilst at Kingston. The university even arranged a talk from world renowned behaviour expert, Bill Rogers. With a good understanding of classroom management I was able to teach confidently and ensure the progression of all children.
Once I secured the foundations for good teaching at Kingston I continued to learn whilst on the job. Teaching is a profession where you should be learning every day along with the children. The university taught me how to be a reflective practitioner and recognise the things that worked in my lessons and the things which could be improved next time.
If you are thinking about teaching I would recommend that you engage in lots of school experience in different settings. Education is constantly changing and the demands are great on teachers. However, I don't believe there is a more rewarding and varied profession and it's not something I am looking to leave any time soon.
5 - Spending your nights in the Library
Our library is open for 24 hours for 5 days a week during the term times. It is a great way to utilize the vast amount of resources, from books, to online journals and group study rooms.
I often get distractions at home but the library is a great place to work as there are different zones, e.g. group ones, silent study etc. The best experience I think a student needs is experiencing an ‘all-nighter'.
I've fallen asleep a few times and have been woken up by the librarians poking me!
4 - Seeing specialist and famous Guest speakers
Kingston University has really good links with top industry related firms, and often they come in to deliver employability workshops and other skill sessions. One of the best experiences was getting to meet Sir Trevor McDonald who is a special guest that delivers talks every year to Kingston students. Get involved with as many of these as possible!
3 - Having fun in the Student Union bar
When you need to chill out after a stressful day at University where do you go? The answer is to our Student Union Bar. Across the campuses there are 3 bars that are all unique - pool tables, a retro Nintendo 64, a Nintendo Wii, Subway (sandwich bar) and of course lots of events where musicians come and play. It's a great place to chill out with your friends and there are so many fun and exciting events put on throughout the year by the Union, including a 50/60s mid century party that I went to as the 60's TV version of Batman!
2- Sports societies
From traditional sports such as football, rugby, basketball, tennis etc. to more extreme sports such as skiing, skydiving, go-karting, rowing and many more that you may never have done before, Kingston has something for you. I've joined sailing and rowing clubs; these are activities I've never done before and love them! We have great sports facilities here. It really is about trying new things and getting involved as much as you can. I firmly believe it's not just what degree classification you get; it's also what you do in terms of the extra curricula activities that make all the difference to what you will get out of your University experience.
1 - Going to Lectures!
University is about getting an education. Therefore it's essential to go to lectures. They are actually really interesting and useful, especially if you have a passion for your subject. I may find it hard waking up for a 2 hour, 9am lecture but once I am there I get really involved. They use projectors and we have to take notes. We also usually have special guest lecturers come in too. I even managed to take part of a lecture for my course which was a great experience albeit terrifying!
5 - Join a society
Joining societies is probably the best way to make new friends at Uni and there is literally a society for everything! Some of my best friends are ones I met at French society events in first year.
4 - Earn some cash!
KU employs loads of students for a variety of roles such as working at graduation, in the SU shops or bars, in the library, as a Student Ambassador (like us!) and many more. The work is flexible and mostly on campus so it's a really easy way that I've found to earn cash without affecting my studies.
3 - The Food Store
If I have time between lectures, a few friends and I tend to grab a bite to eat in the Food Store (canteen). It's reasonably priced and there's always a variety on offer, hot and cold, so everyone's happy.
2 - The Library
I spend a lot of time in the library but I actually really enjoy it. It has everything you need to study: quiet space and a (slightly noisier) group work area, computers, and a café with free newspapers.
Whenever I go there I bump into someone on my course or that I know from Uni so I see it as a social space too.
1 - Hit the Su Bar
I like to go to the SU bar at Penryhn Road after lectures and sometimes the Knights Park bar because it's by the river.
The SU bars have the cheapest drinks in town and there's always a really chilled atmosphere so it's a good place to relax after a day of studying.