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"Working with children really humbles you. I've grown so much, not just as a teacher but as a person."

Laura studied a Joint Honours degree in History of Art and Architecture and Fine Art at the University of Reading. She then went on to study for a Masters in Curating at The Royal College of Art.

Laura began worked as a freelance curator for a year upon graduating. She hadn't previously thought about becoming a teacher but wanted to do something she could make a real impact in.

After undertaking a placement in school which confirmed her interest in teaching, she applied to University of Reading's Institute of Education.

"The fact that the Institute of Education, University of Reading offered a PGCE with teaching from 11- 18 was a big plus for me as I knew I wanted to teach A-level Art as well. Having studied here as an undergraduate at the University and also after taking advice from the National Society for Education in Art & Design (NSEAD) I chose the Institute of Education."

Blending studying and classroom time

"I found both aspects thoroughly complemented one another. The key, I think, is in being able to reflect. When reading or in a lecture regarding pedagogy, it was good to think about something I'd observed in the classroom and vice versa - a lesson that may have had a particular success or an element that wasn't as effective. It was great to pull upon research I'd come across and apply it in the classroom."

Placement highlights

A particular highlight for Laura was during her placements.

"I entered the Education Art Prize competition with my After School Art Club from my main placement at Maiden Erlegh School with a mosaic piece on mental health awareness. We were the 2017 winners! I'm so proud of my students for their desire to take their art outside of the school context."

For Laura every day as a teacher has been inspiring and varied.

"I can't believe how much I have learnt from my students about my subject, about human behaviour and about myself. I am still learning constantly and that is why I love my job. I am always busy, I spend very little time at my desk or at my computer and I love that the majority of my day is spent on my feet, interacting with my students and continuing to learn alongside them in my favourite subject."

In terms of what she loves about teaching the most Laura said:

Sometimes it's just the smallest thing. It's one of your naughtiest students asking if they can take a picture of their work so they can show someone at home and telling you how proud they are of what they've achieved."

She continued

"It's the sheer excitement of your students when letting them know where they have come in a national competition; it's hearing one of the most insightful and profound contributions you could have ever imagined from a student who would have never had the confidence to join in a few weeks previously."

In terms of what's been challenging, she said:

"You care so much and invest in your students and their futures. Your students will test you and make it difficult for you to help them sometimes and they can be their own worst enemy, but it's this that can make every little success more satisfying."

Laura continues to do community art projects with her school in order to give children lots of additional skills like problem solving and to help them to see the impact of art on society.