What it's like to study teacher training at USW

Caitlin Woodland, from Pontypridd, is studying Primary Studies with QTS.

Caitlin Woodland, from Pontypridd, went to Hawthorn High School before coming to USW to study Primary Studies with QTS.

"I'm absolutely loving being on the Primary Studies course. There's a lot to like about my course - engaging and useful lectures, enjoyable school placements, supportive lecturers, and a lovely campus. The fact that the course gives a mixture of lectures and school based experience is also a real highlight for me.

I decided to study this course at the Newport campus because it offers the QTS qualification in just three years. This was something I found very appealing, because it allows me to become an employable teacher quicker than other courses - which was exactly what I was looking for!

Adjusting to Uni life

The main challenge for me was the jump from A-levels to higher education. Writing assignments proved to be very difficult for me in my first year, but with help from course lecturers and the student support team, I was able to overcome this hurdle.

I've mostly enjoyed the curriculum studies module, as it prepares you for teaching the various areas of learning, such as Music, PE, Art and Geography. These lessons are often practical, engaging and full of ideas that can be used in practice. I also enjoy the ICT lessons and input we are receiving about developing learners’ digital skills. This has come in handy on placement as I've been able to incorporate those fun and engaging ideas into my lessons.

First school placement

I felt a mixture of nerves and excitement before my first placement. I couldn't wait to teach a class after being given so many fun and exciting ideas for lessons, but was also nervous about how things would go. We were given a lot of guidance before placement so I felt completely prepared.

My first placement was difficult, because I was just 'finding my feet' in terms of my teaching style, but as time went on I became more confident and comfortable in front of a class. Seeing the rewards for the children you have taught is the most rewarding thing I've ever experienced.

I'm currently on my second placement in Hendre Juniors School, and it has certainly been my favourite placement so far. My mentors in school are extremely supportive, so I feel like they're helping my teaching practice develop and progress. I'm also teaching in a Key Stage 2 class, which I much prefer as I think the topics are more exciting.

Part of a community

I've been pleasantly surprised by the Maths lectures, because before I began the course, this was the subject I was least confident in teaching. However, since having such informative and useful lectures I feel a lot more confident when teaching Maths.

I really enjoy studying in Newport. It's a beautiful, modern campus, which offers all the facilities I need. And the lecturers on my course are so friendly and helpful, and make you feel part of a little community, from the offset."