One of the most common questions that I have been asked by prospective students and fellow trainee teachers is “how do you find time to do extra things?” – volunteer work and activities that will boost your career experience and the all important CV.
When I first started University, I struggled to see how any of us, trainee teachers, would ever have time to do additional things, but trust me.. it is possible! Here are some of the extra opportunities that I have taken up alongside my course, in the hope that you will see the benefits of doing the same.
The first opportunity I took up was a Sign-a-long course!
I have always wanted to learn how to sign and I loved it! The course was very affordable and spread across evening classes that fit around lectures and placement. By the end of the course you could come out with a Phase 1 qualification in Sign Language! It’s supported me especially whilst working with Special Educational Needs, so if you have an interest in that aswell, I recommend this to you even more.
If you’re interested, the person to email is Pam Gough.
The next thing is what we like to call the ‘W.I.P group’ (Working in Partnership)
It is a group made up of teaching students and lecturers; focused on improving specific areas of the course such as communication, feedback and timetabling. We split up into relevant groups; discuss and research and impliment new changes things that will benefit everyone.
Just one of the things that we have achieved this University year already, is the development of the W.I.P newsletter, that is aimed at keeping everybody up to date with what is going on inside the course.
This group does not take up much time at all! We have meetings every now and then and all of the separate tasks can be done in smaller and more manageable chunks.
We are always looking for new and interested students that want to be a real part of the course!
The person to email if you’re interested is Rachel Barrell.
Another extra activity that I am a part of, is the D.T. (Design & Technology) group that runs on a Wednesday afternoon.
There is a small group of us trainee teachers that currently provide D.T. lessons to local schools. Right now, we are working at Chadsgrove school and are making some teddy bears with the children!
Our timetable is often fitted around this so it rarely gets in the way of any other responsibilities.
It’s not always possible to get teaching experience in every topic when you’re on placement, so this is an opportunity well worth taking up if you’re interested in the creative subjects.. and of course, it’s fun!
If you fancy joining us and gaining some extra teaching experience in this subject area then email Sue Dutson.
All year long, we are crammed with assignments, placements, part time jobs etc etc, but often, it gets to the summer months when we all go home and we have nothing to do but twiddle our thumbs.
Do what my two flat mates and I did last summer – some abroad experience.
For a whole month, we travelled to Madagascar and taught on average, 6 hours a day to the local children. We stayed in a beautiful village called Andasibe and had the experience of our lives. No doubt, this month of volunteering will enhance our CV’s massively and be a talking point for the rest of our teaching careers!
We were offered a £700 pound scholarship each from the University to help fund our trip and you could be entitled to this as well!
Gaining extra experience like this isn’t always possible during term time when everyone is rushed off their feet, so make the most of your available summers now. I promise you won’t regret it. This could be in teaching or sports, or whatever is the most relevant to you, but I guarantee that it is so much more fun and beneficial that being a couch potato.
Feel free to watch our funny and embarrassing Madagascar video
I hope that this lengthy blog has shown some of you that we do have time for some extra things on top of our course, whilst keeping up to date with all of our degree demands!
University isn’t just about the courses that we are studying, but also about the experiences that we gain alongside them. Make the most out of the opportunities that you get whilst you are here!