Kris Renshaw, PGCE Post-14 Education and Training, 2014
What are you doing now?
I am currently working full time at Stephenson College. I teach Functional Skills maths and English, as well as GCSE English.
What were the main reasons you took the course?
In order to reach my goal of becoming a tutor in the FE and lifelong learning sector.
Why did you choose to study the course at the University of Derby?
It was local, and I had heard a lot of positive things about the team and quality of teacher training.
What impact has studying this course at Derby had on your career?
The course enabled me to take my first professional steps in what is turning out to be a successful and satisfying career.
How did the lecturers inspire you?
The lecturers inspired me to be myself in the classroom; to not become a stereotypical tutor. They also showed me just how supportive and effective successful tutors should be. In my profession, their guidance has inspired me to not be afraid to try new teaching methods.
How do you feel the University has helped you in your career so far?
The University, particularly the Education studies and PGCE tutors, have helped me to become an effective tutor. They also helped me to refine what areas I specifically wanted to teach in, and helped me to secure my first teaching post, months after I had completed the course. I was also very surprised that the lecturers on the PGCE Post-14 fully supported my goal of becoming a tutor in a prison – they helped me to secure a placement in a prison, gave me valuable and constructive feedback, and helped me learn how to shape effective lessons in different settings.
What are your future plans?
My future plans are to continue earning my stripes as a lecturer, and then gradually work my way up the ladder to higher positions. Thanks to the course, I believe in myself that I could one day become a principal in an FE setting.
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to study this course at the University of Derby?
Do it! The course alone is worthwhile and a key part of becoming a tutor in the FE sector. At Derby University, however, there is the added benefit of supportive, friendly, encouraging and professional lecturers. They will guide your every step, but give you enough room to try your own things and learn your own way. They only ever offer valuable and constructive criticism to help you craft your own identity and professionalism as a tutor. Importantly, from day one you are seen as a colleague – not a student, or an amateur, but as an equal.
Finally, once it’s all over, they are still happy to offer support and guidance. Two years on I still contact the team if I need a helping hand, and because of the colleague attitude, they will often contact me if there is anything I can help them with.
Who are you still in touch with from University of Derby?
As well as the range of friends I made, I am also in contact with lecturers across both the PGCE Post-14 and Education Studies courses. We sometimes contact each other on a friendly basis, but also as professionals looking for help or support.