Michael went to the London School of Economics for his undergraduate studies, graduating back in 2012 with a degree in Actuarial Science.
He chose the University of Reading for his PGCE after visiting for an information event. He liked the location of the Institute of Education (IoE) on the London Road campus and as a local resident, wanted to complete his placements at a local school. The IoE just felt like the right choice.
“I was pretty unsure about making the leap to teaching after years working in the financial sector but meeting the subject leader for Maths, Fiona Curtis, at an open evening held by the University really helped me with my choice. Fiona immediately made my fears subside, informing me of a course called Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) which could help people who have been away from mathematics for a while get back into the swing of things.”
Michael liked the hybrid nature of the course:
“The mix of lectures at the University and placements in schools was wonderful. The Institute of Education's policy of Placement B being over one half term after Christmas and the rest of the time, before and after, being in the Placement A school meant you really felt like part of the staff at Placement A and quickly got up to scratch with the internal policies of that school. That's really important when learning to teach! Consistency is key for both you and the students.”
Michael is now working as a teacher at Highdown School and Sixth Form Centre in Caversham which was his Placement A school. He says his experiences on the PGCE have shaped his approach to teaching.
“The ITTCo (Initial Teacher Training Coordinator) at my Placement A is one of the most inspirational people/teachers I've ever met. I guess this may not be the case at every school, but it is true that the people you meet along the way will completely shape your experience and improve your pedagogy. Your fellow PGCE students, the teachers you work alongside, your mentors, your students, your university tutor, your lecturers, they all leave a sprinkle of themselves on you and leave you glittering like an education disco ball.”
For those considering getting into teaching, Michael would recommend the Institute of Education’s Secondary PGCE programme and teaching as a profession.
"The PGCE is a great choice. Teaching has a number of benefits none so more important than that you'll be making a difference to hundreds of children every day (plus the holidays, always the holidays)."
In addition to teaching, Michael has recently represented the University of Reading as Team Captain on University Challenge.