"After visiting various universities, I attended an open day at Derby and immediately knew this was the place for me. It was the passion and enthusiasm of the staff, the feeling of welcome as soon as I walked into the atrium and the makeup of the course that swung it for me. The more time I spent in the classroom, I knew this was something I was meant to do."
Which route did Craig take into teaching?
I made initial enquiries to a number of universities and was told that I had a strong application but needed an academic reference to be considered. I therefore enrolled on an Access to Higher Education Diploma studying two nights a week. Having never really been considered an academic high flyer in school it was with some trepidation that I re-entered the classroom. Much to my surprise I really enjoyed the studying element and quickly got into a good study routine.
What difficulties/ challenges did Craig face?
The first few weeks of university were strange for me as I was the oldest on the course and was unsure of how I would integrate with the rest of the cohort. During the induction period my fears were laid to rest as I soon realised that each person brought their own strengths and insecurities but as a group we complemented and supported each other. The first year, as a whole, was a steep learning curve in both the academic and the practical teaching aspects of the course but something that I relished. I think having waited so long to embark on this career I embraced each challenge with enthusiasm. My grades were steady and I was learning many key skills but it wasn’t always easy and tested my resilience but by the end of the year I felt much better about all the aspects of the course.
What was the school experience like for Craig?
My school experience was truly amazing the university’s policy on placing all first year students into an EYFS setting I think is invaluable as it gives a real grounding and understanding of the huge progress children make in their formative years. I never really considered working in an EYFS setting prior to this experience and was not convinced I would like it at all but I really loved it and wouldn’t be fazed about working in this setting. I think the input from the university in lectures and workshops really supported me in my preparation for my teaching practise.
What is Craig doing now?
Moving from EYFS to a Year Four class was a big jump but one I feel I made with relative ease safe in the knowledge that I had backup from the university. This was the year that I really felt like a teacher. Apart from the huge amount of planning the sheer exhilaration of having the whole class to myself is almost indescribable. Encouraged by my mentor I decided to apply for the final three route of the degree. As a result of the love and support of my family and friends, new and old, the dedication and guidance from the university tutors and the practical teaching experience, I can honestly say that all the sacrifices have been worthwhile and I can scarcely believe that in a little over twelve months I will be living the dream and commencing my life as a Newly Qualified Teacher.