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Alana Collins – University of Reading

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  • French, Spanish and teaching

    Studying two languages whilst qualifying as a teacher

Alana Collins

Alana CollinsAlana is currently in her second year, studying French and Spanish with Qualified Teacher Status. She recalls being delighted that she would have a chance to study two languages, having been previously unable to do so.

"I started Spanish from scratch at university. This was such a great opportunity for me because I wasn't able to study 2 languages at GCSE - so I couldn't really progress any further with it. It was amazing for me to find that Reading offered the Spanish course from Beginner's level."

Studying for Qualified Teacher Status

Alana explains that whilst being a teacher was not originally her primary driver, learning about this aspect of the course was a great inspiration.

"Qualified Teacher Status was promoted at Open Day and at the time I thought it was interesting and something I would like to touch upon... I have so much fulfilment and satisfaction from it. My QTS lectures are with PGCE students at the university so I don't miss out on anything that the PGCE students learn."

QTS and studying abroad

Alana did not begin her QTS studies until her second year, which is common for students. Did this have any effect on her year spent abroad?

"My year abroad stays exactly the same - it doesn't change because I am doing this qualification. I will go for half a year in France and half a year in Spain."

Learning and teaching

Studying for a degree whilst beginning teaching sounds like a huge amount of work. Alana discovered that the structure of the programme accommodated these different aspects of her chosen path.

"I would be teaching for short periods ranging from 15 minutes to half an hour. If someone had told me in September that you would be able to teach a whole lesson by December, I'd say 'no way!' but standing in front of the children it's amazing and so fulfilling when you've taught them something and then later on in the class they relay it to you! You are given a mentor who guides you through everything and you meet with them once every fortnight, and you speak about what you've observed in all the lessons."

A message for others considering this degree

"I think you will not do anything so satisfying and you form lovely relationships with the students - it's actually really fun - there are so many different characters and personalities and everyone learns in a different way so it's a nice challenge trying to get certain pupils to learn. It's about you differentiating your lessons and adapting them so all students can learn. I'm not a naturally gifted student but I work hard, and so when I see the same in my students, that makes me want to help them."

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