Before commencing her PGCE Secondary Art and Design course at the Institute of Education (IoE), Lauren Hevey also undertook her undergraduate Fine Art degree at the University of Reading.
"As cliché as it may sound, art has always been my passion, constantly drawing, painting and making my mum's kitchen table a mess since a young age."
While completing her BA in Fine Art Lauren was also involved in a range of volunteering activities. This included Students in Schools, the Reading Scholars programme, as well as art related initiatives such as the Reading ArtLab, and an Artist in Residency project for a group of third year BA art students.
" I want to help students realise their potential with art, like my teacher did for me. These experiences working with young people allowed me to build up my understanding of art education in schools, as well as building up my own confidence. "
She continued: "I'd highly recommend finding out if your university provide programmes like this to get involved in, or get in contact with your local school and ask if they would like a volunteer- art departments love a spare pair of hands!"
As an existing student, Lauren wanted to undertake her PGCE at the University of Reading as well.
" I was attracted to the fact that the IoE has a real hands on, practical approach whereby myself and other trainees are constantly making and learning new things together."
In terms of placements on the PGCE course Lauren undertook her main one at The Emmbrook.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. Every week I have a meeting with my mentor to discuss the week and set targets. My mentor has supported my teaching practice by allowing me to be very experimental in my lessons and try different schemes of work. "
Of her placements she also said:
"They have provided me with a range of professional studies sessions which vary from understanding the psychology of the teenage brain to more specific sessions based on supporting students with SEN needs. Having these professional studies sessions dedicated on my timetable have been extremely useful to allow us partnership teachers to have a well-rounded training experience."
In terms of Lauren's favourite aspect of teaching she said:
" The nicest feeling as an art teacher is when your year 7 students are desperate to show you the artwork that they make in their own time. As many primary schools have a limited amount of art on the curriculum, it is really rewarding to know that you are contributing to their participation and perhaps newly discovered enthusiasm for art."
When looking for teaching jobs, Lauren found the subject leader Mel Jay extremely good at passing on information to trainees about any schools that were hiring.
" I was also subscribed to websites like .GOV and TES for daily updates but then fell on my feet and got a job at my second placement. For now I am looking to develop my career here in Reading, but who knows, the great thing about the PGCE qualification is that it can take you overseas and perhaps that could be an option for me in years to come."
Finally when asked why it's so vital that pupil's learn art Lauren said:
"Art allows students to think outside the box and it allows us to explore history and different cultures. It also makes us question the things around us and it is a great vehicle for expression and articulation of thoughts.
Those who study art at GCSE and A Level are giving themselves the opportunity to be the next generation of designers and creatives.
The creative culture industries are ever growing and constantly looking for more people who think creatively and in schools, we can be the building blocks for these careers. Even for those who do not wish to follow a career in the arts, we are providing young people with an enriched cultural capital."