Those who know me will be aware of the huge additional opportunities advocator I am. I find it very difficult to say no when a chance to meet new people and enhance my employability is sent my way, and I like to think that I am getting my full money’s worth by grabbing every opportunity with two hands. Over the past year, I have undertaken a whole raft of additional opportunities, but there are three that I feel allow my voice to be heard, and my ideas to be taken forward.
The Student Academic Representative (StAR) system is something that I have been involved with in my first and now my second year. StARs are elected by their peers (I was re-elected this year!) to take forward their views – both positive and negative – about any aspect of the University and their course.
As a StAR, you represent a number of students and attend meetings, forums, and other focus groups. The role is entirely voluntary, but you can log your hours on the online V-Log and in your Worcester Award logbook.
In my first year, I completed the Gold StAR Accreditation which gets recorded on my degree transcript (HEAR), and I was awarded the Institute of Education StAR of The Year 2015 award.
As a trainee teacher, I am more than aware that the teaching world is competitive, so I decided to put myself forward as a StAR to increase the chances of finding employment, and it is a great talking point for interviews.
I have been able to develop and refine my leadership skills and have had many experiences which make me more appreciative of how the University runs, and how students can have such a big impact on the Institution.
- Institute Representative
This year, I applied for and was appointed as an Institute Representative after enjoying my first year as a StAR so much.
This role, unlike the StAR role I still continue with, is paid and I get a £300 bursary for the work I do over the year.
The role is definitely – in my opinion – a step up from my role as a StAR, as I have to attend a range of committee meetings, and participate in training the StARs.
There are three other Institute Reps within the Institute of Education, and we all work closely together so it seems like the workload is quartered.
I would definitely advise anyone who is willing to demonstrate their leadership skills to apply for a position as an Institute Representative in the next academic year!
The Working in Partnership (WiP) group is specific to my Primary Initial Teacher Education course and is another way of students being involved in the development of the course. I think that it is a brilliant scheme, and its success has been recognised by the Times Higher Education Awards where it was shortlisted for the Outstanding Support for Students award.
There are many active members across the year groups who meet up and discuss what their sub-teams have been up to.
The sub-teams are communications, surveys, additional opportunities, male support, assessment and feedback, and recruitment.
Each team devise and work on their own action plans, and the list of things WiP have achieved as a whole is endless!
I also regularly blog for educational publisher Critical Publishing. See their website www.criticalpublishing.com for further details!