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Megan Tuckwood


United Kingdom
If you were thinking of training to be an English Teacher in secondary education, I would recommend training at NTU. The support from both the tutors and mentors at university and school is second to none.

More about Megan

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Megan Tuckwood PGCE Secondary English
Megan tells us about her life as a student studying PGCE Secondary English at Nottingham Trent University.

What made you choose this course? 

I was already studying a Masters in Psychology at NTU when I decided I wanted to pursue teaching. I was enjoying my time studying at NTU so I looked at the options for teacher training. I booked onto an open day at Clifton Campus; where I was incredibly impressed by the course and the reputation it had gained.

Therefore I decided to apply to the PGCE in Secondary English. When I attended the interview I knew that NTU was the place I wanted to train to become a teacher. My tutor was incredibly supportive and enthusiastic. I turned down offers from The University of Nottingham and Leicester to train at Nottingham Trent.

What avenue did you take into university? 

I completed my BA in English literature at The University of Lincoln after finishing A Level studies. I spent a year in Australia after graduating where I gained experience in children’s development and writing, when I returned to England I started studying my Masters in Psychology.

I believe these experiences have led me to teaching and I feel I have found my passion.

What would you describe as the strengths of your course?

The university have very strong links with schools in the East Midlands area. Both my placement schools were supportive, encouraging and pushed me to become a successful teacher. The university also tries to place each student in a contrasting school environment for Placement 1 and 2 in order to gain a complete experience of teaching.

In addition, the university days are very rewarding, I find the English based seminars and workshops particularly beneficial. As a student teacher you are able to learn how to teach Shakespeare, manage behaviour, teach poetry and unpack the new GCSE specification.

What particular elements or modules did you enjoy the most?

I enjoyed the guest lecturers, especially teachers and head teachers that would come in from Nottingham schools. I found these lectures particularly insightful.

I would say that the most enjoyable and rewarding modules are the English modules.

Did you do a placement, and if so, please tell us about that?

My first placement was at Walton Girls’ School in Grantham. I loved my time at Walton; I was very lucky to have such a welcoming and supportive school for my first placement. At Walton I learnt my teaching style.

My second placement was at John Ferneley College in Melton Mowbray. I learnt so much at this second placement, my timetable increased from 25% of a teacher’s timetable to 50%. At this placement I was able to expand what I had already learnt from Walton and gain more independence over my classes.  My mentor at John Ferneley supported and inspired me.

I would say that the second placement is very challenging but it is also the most rewarding.

Did you have any memorable moments from your time on placement?

One of the most memorable moments was when one of my student’s gave me a Christmas card on my last day of my first placement. She said that she was going to miss me as her English teacher and hoped that I would return to Walton.

It was the first time I really felt like I had made a difference to a student, which is what I think teaching is all about.

Do you have any advice for future students going on placement?

  • It is important to always remain professional; this school could be your future employer.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for advice or for support, all the teachers are there to support you.
  • Always dress professionally.
  • Enjoy your time training and observe as many teachers as you can.

Have you benefited from NTU’s links and partnerships with local schools?

I have been very lucky to be placed at two brilliant schools and I believe this is because of Nottingham Trent’s strong links with supporting schools.

Could you tell us about the support you received from your tutors and university staff?

My English Tutor Aisling is very supportive and is always able to help; her knowledge of teaching is outstanding.

How has the course so far helped you prepare for your career?

My English Tutor Aisling organised for an Assistant Head to visit the university. She gave the English trainees advice on applying for jobs and interview techniques.

I felt extremely supported by Aisling during the process of applying for jobs. I was very fortunate to be offered a job on my first interview at The West Bridgford School in Nottingham and I am very excited to start my NQT year there.

If you had to recommend this course to a future student, what would you say?

If you were thinking of training to be an English Teacher in secondary education, I would recommend training at NTU. The support from both the tutors and mentors at university and school is second to none

I would also recommend attending an open day/ evening to meet the staff and previous students and get a feel for the course.

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