Profile picture of Elizabeth Bentley.

Year 7-11 Science Teacher

The University was very supportive before the course, which really helped as I had been out of education for over 15 years.

Why I chose to study at Leeds Trinity

A friend who had studied at Leeds Trinity recommended the course to me and when I attended an Open Day, the campus felt friendly and the staff that I spoke with really knew their subject and the courses they represented.

Elizabeth Bentley grad image.

Changing my career

I left nursing due to health issues (back injury) and pre-training I felt unsure that I would be able to sustain the physical requirements of being a teacher. The staff at the University that I spoke to though, did not see this as an issue and felt that my experience through my previous work would be a benefit to teaching.

The University was very supportive before the course, which really helped as I had been out of education for over 15 years. I was given assistance from the student Learning Hub prior to starting the course to pass the maths and literacy government tests and was offered further help for essay writing while on the course.

The tutors were also amazing giving advice and support for specific needs during and after the course, as well as structuring the learning to enable the best impact for assignments.

My best memories from studying at Leeds Trinity

My best memories are from making lots of new friends on the course and the graduation ceremony.

Elizabeth Bentley graduating.

Leaving with new skills

I grew massively in confidence to become a teacher and pick up all the skills that planning and teaching students from a range of backgrounds and ability levels requires. Many of the skills that I came to the course with were transferable to this new role, even if initially I couldn’t see this, the tutors recognised these qualities at the beginning and encouraged me to grow in them.

Real-life experience through placements

The placements gave a real-life experience of what teaching would be like, and you had the safety net of always having a qualified teacher with you to give feedback and support to develop key areas. Especially when faced with a challenging class, a mentor gave strategies to try out that I would never have thought of on my own, so I was able to learn from their experience too.

Helping the SCITT Director with the trainee handbook and speaking to an incoming SCITT cohort

It was great to be able to feedback what had worked well for my cohort in the trainee handbook and how things could be changed. A part of this was around the transition of students between stages 1 and 2 of the course.

I loved speaking to new trainees as it felt like I was giving something back, sharing wisdom and passing on things I learnt the hard way (that would hopefully give them a head start). As a mature student with a family of my own, I was able to offer advice to help other students in similar situations about managing time and creating space for your family. I felt this was really important, as there are times when completing a PGCE can feel quite lonely and isolating due to the heavy workload and the time that developing new skills requires.

My advice to others thinking about a similar course 

Do it! Visit schools and get a feel for the sort of environment you would like to work in. It is a tough course but the rewards of seeing children grow and change because of your input is beyond rewarding. This is the best decision I ever made and I now love going to work every day. Even when it has been a tough day, it’s been a good day.