Before going to university, I was never entirely sure as to what my career aims were, although teaching has always been something that has interested me. However, after researching Swansea University, I noticed that the Applied Linguistics Department offered the CELTA programme as part of their English language degree. This was one of my main reasons for selecting the degree, and it has been fundamental in paving the way for my future career!
After completing the CELTA at the end of my second year, I immediately put it to good use and secured some work teaching in a summer school in Malta. I really enjoyed my time teaching on the island, and it made me realise that teaching was the profession of which I was born to be a part. I was among the top 5 teachers voted for by staff and students to represent the company at the Global Leadership Academy, which was a great opportunity to further develop my insight in the profession through conferences and seminars.
Within weeks of updating my CV, after returning home from my travels, the graduate organisation Teach First got in touch with me via my LinkedIn account, expressing their delight in my achievements and suggested I should consider applying for their Leadership Development Programme. After reading up on Teach First, I was amazed by what they offered. I was initially looking at applying for a PGCE, but this seemed to offer this and much more. It was a surreal feeling when a potential employer contacts you first, rather than the other way around.
So, I immediately began preparing my application, which involved answering detailed questions about my suitability and competency for being a Teach First teacher. After a long and gruelling wait, I was informed that I had passed the application phase and was subsequently invited to an assessment day: stage one complete.
The second stage, which was an assessment day, was held in London and involved a one-to-one interview, a group task and a 5-minute mock lesson which you had to prepare in advance. It was a long day but I relished the challenge and felt like my experience teaching at a summer school would hold me in good stead for the mock lesson. It was bizarre speaking to the other candidates throughout the day. I noticed that the overwhelming amount of them were undergraduates from the Russell group universities. But I was confident In my abilities, and excited to show them that a Swansea student is not to be underestimated.
I left the assessment day optimistic in how it went but realistic in the knowledge that nothing is ever guaranteed. As well as this, it was clear that the selection process was fiercely competitive. After what felt like an eternity, the email arrived to confirm that I had received a conditional offer to join the Teach First community. This was truly my proudest moment to date and I was brimming with pride as I read the email.
My time at Swansea has been a rollercoaster of experiences, and I can see the direct influence that my degree has had on achieving success and helping me towards my perfect graduate job. The English language degree offered me the chance to complete the CELTA. This then enabled me to teach in Malta, which then gave me the experience to be a serious contender in applying for Teach First.
For these reasons, I cannot be happier with the impact my degree has already had on my life, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. However, as much as I have enjoyed my time in Swansea, I cannot deny that I am now eager to graduate and begin the next chapter in my life as a primary school teacher!