Exciting times!!

This last week has been a very exciting week indeed for me…
On Friday I was able to find out my final classification for my degree… I nervously logged on to the GO portal, hoping that I’d got the 2:1 that I was predicted… I clicked on to my transcript to find that I got a….
First class honours!! I actually couldn’t believe it an had to read it a couple of times to get it to sink in!

I’m even more excited for graduation in two weeks time now!!

At the minute, though, I’m down in Torquay… This is my home for the next four weeks (apart from coming back to edge hill for graduation) as I’m working for a language school.

I am head of pastoral care and have a team of four people that I will be managing over the next month. Some of the foreign children arrived yesterday and there is a wide range of nationalities… French, German, Italian, Russian, Ukrainian, Spanish and Turkish!
The kids range from 9-16 and it’s quite nice to be acting as a “big sister” type role rather than a teacher.

I’m still on the hunt for a full time teaching job for September, and am keeping my fingers crossed that something will come up soon!

Jen 🙂

Friday night and I’m working…

Well, it’s a Friday night and instead relaxing watching a film, or being out somewhere I find myself working…

I’m working on my career entry development profile, so I can get it done and not have any work to do over the weekend!

I have a meeting with my tutor on Tuesday to go through all of my “qualified teachers status” standards and check that I have achieved everything in order to pass the course and gain QTS.

So much to do, just pulling everything together in preparation for a job in September (hopefully!!) and looking back on all of the achievements ( and tough times) over the last three years!!

I’m searching for jobs at the minute, and hoping that I’ll find one that means I can stay at home for a while, so that I can save up for my own house!

It’s scary, but extremely exciting, thinking that in September I will be a “real” teacher. I’m also under no illusions that it’s going to be easy. I am only just beginning on my journey and have so much to learn and so many skills to develop and I cannot wait!!

Jen 🙂

May Day…

Oh my gosh…. I’ve just realised that it’s May…. I can’t actually believe how quickly this year is going!

I’m currently on the countdown to graduation – we’ve been given our date and time for graduation – 18th July 5.30pm – eeeee!! I can’t believe it, it all seems so real now! I’ve also organised a graduation party for everyone on my course, their families and our tutors following the graduation ceremony as a final thing that we will all do together.

I’ve also had some good news…. I’ve been offered a place on the Masters Educational Leadership course when I successfully finish my current course! So, understandably I am over the moon!!

I’ve been onto campus today to meet with a couple of friends to work on one of our final assignments. We only have 2 assignments and our dissertation left to write and then we are finished!

Until next time,

Jen 🙂

A new year…

Happy New Year!!!

I can’t believe how quickly the Christmas holidays have gone – probably because the only days I actually had a “holiday” were Christmas day, boxing day and new years eve, other than that I pretty much had my head in my books….

I should apologise for not writing my blog last week – I just got swept up in all of my revision, so I am sorry about that, but I will be writing two this week to make up for it!

I have two exams tomorrow… Environmental physiology and Ecological genetics, I know I have done more than enough revision over Christmas but I can’t help but feel nervous, so here I am it’s 23:18 and I have taken a break from my “last minute cramming session” to write my blog. As I cram I realise that I can actually already remember most of the stuff I’m reading – which is a comforting thought! So many key words buzzing around in my head “allopatric speciation”; “zeitgebers”; “euryhaline”; “stenotherm” and “ecotypic differentiation” just to name a few… tomorrow brings the end of my biology modules, they’ve been fun and I’ve learnt a lot!

I have two more exams on Thursday… Physics: concepts and models and Physics in action. Again I’ve done plenty of revision over Christmas but that doesn’t mean to say that tomorrow evening and all day Wednesday won’t be spent trying to cram those little extra bits of information into my brain! Thursday will be the last exam I will sit at Edge Hill University – I’m not going to lie, it can’t come quick enough! I’m not a fan of exams, I’d rather have a 5,000 word essay any day!

On Monday I start on my final placement as part of my course… I’m very excited and even bought myself a new “teacher” bag today in preparation! I can’t wait to get into school and get some more experience of lesson planning and being in a classroom in charge of a group of pupils…

I’m hoping to write my blog more often while I’m on placement, although I use Twitter to give a day to day update of life as a trainee teacher, sometimes 140 characters isn’t enough and I’d like to provide you with plenty of information about placement so you know what to expect when you (hopefully!) embark upon your teacher training at Edge Hill – so keep an eye out for that.

I would love to know what you would like to read about and would really appreciate any comments or Tweets to request specific blog topics!

That’s all for now – don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@Jen_EHU)

Thanks for reading!

Jen 🙂

How to succeed in an interview…

Hey guys 🙂

In my last blog I talked about completing your personal statement for your UCAS application… Today I’m going to talk about what happens next…

So… You have an interview for your course… First of all don’t panic, Universities aren’t trying to catch you out, they just want to make sure that you are an ideal candidate for the course and that you will be able to cope with the demands of your chosen course before making you an offer. Secondly… Prepare, prepare, prepare! If you are prepared for your interview, you will find it will be so much easier…


There is lots you can do to make sure that you are fully prepared for the big day – from arranging mock interviews to arming yourself with information about the University and your chosen course.

Top Tips:

  • Make sure you know where you need to be and when you need to be there. Visit the University website for a map and directions. Don’t always rely on Sat-Nav to get you there – make sure you have a map as a back-up. If you need any more information about where on campus you need to be, contact the University
  • Remember that knowledge is power – Make sure you have read the prospectus and that you have looked at the University’s website. Make sure you know about the course you are applying for – it will make you seem keener during your interview. If there are things you would like to know that are not in the prospectus, make a list of questions you would like to ask.
  • Make sure that you are familiar with what you wrote in you application form – the interviewers will base their questions on the content of your application and will probably ask you about some of the things you have mentioned.
  • Be familiar with ‘hot topics’ in your subject area – you may be questioned about them. Interviewers commonly ask for your views on these areas. For teaching, a good place to keep up to date with hot topics is in the Times Educational Supplement, currently you can subscribe to the TES for just ÂŁ1 for 6 issues at http://www.tes.co.uk/publications.aspx?navcode=91
  • Remember that practice makes perfect. A mock interview is the best way to make sure you know exactly what you want to say and how you might answer certain questions. Ask a teacher or a careers adviser to run through a mock interview with you.
  • Try and relax – the night before try and get a good nights sleep, you won’t be at your best without one.

At the Interview

Interviews are always nerve-wracking, but try to remain calm and be yourself. Be enthusiastic and be sure to ‘sell’ yourself and what you have to offer

Interviewers are looking for students who show an interest, who can think independently and consider new ideas.

They are looking for students who will thrive well on their course and enjoy a varied academic life alongside their outside interests.

Top tips:

  • Dress appropriately – make sure you turn up looking smart, remember first impressions really do count!
  • Make sure you arrive on time, allow plenty of time to get there and make sure you have a contact number, just in case the worst happens and you get delayed on the way.
  • Be aware of your body language, make sure you are giving off the right signals, don’t slouch or yawn, sit up straight and look alert and enthusiastic
  • If you don’t understand a question ask for it to be repeated or rephrased… Also allow yourself some thinking time before diving in to answer a question… A good way to do this is by saying something along the lines of “That’s a good question…” then answer.
  • Expect the unexpected – while interviewers aren’t trying to trick you, some will want to see how you react under pressure. A surprise test or exercise isn’t unheard of so stay calm and think clearly.
  • Ask questions – Usually at the end of your interview, you will be asked if you have any questions. You will come across as enthusiastic if you ask appropriate questions. Use this opportunity to find out the answers to any questions that weren’t answered in the prospectus or on the website. If you are a have no questions to ask, you could say something like “You have already answered any questions that I had, thank you.”
Now it’s time to sit back and wait, you will either hear back from the University directly or you may hear back through the UCAS track system.

Nobody likes interviews, but with a bit of preparation, ‘selling yourself’ and showing knowledge and enthusiasm in your answers will become second nature, landing you a place on the higher education course that’s right for you.

Good luck with your applications and interviews!

Thanks for reading, don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter at @Jen_EHU

Jen 🙂

Personal Statement… Where to start?

Hello again… 🙂 After a couple of requests from some of you, today I’m going to write a little bit about personal statements… What are they for? What should you include? Ultimately your personal statement is your opportunity to tell Universities and Colleges why you are suitable for the course that you want to study. It is vital that you make the most of this opportunity and demonstrate your commitment, enthusiasm, and most importantly, ensure that you stand out from the hundreds of other applicants… Now I know this sounds like a huge, daunting task, but if you break it down and use the following hints and tips, you’ll find that it’s actually not so bad! Okay, so a little bit about what to include… Writing about the course You need to answer two main questions here:

  • Why are you applying to this particular course? Here, you need to talk about why the subject interests you, try and include evidence that you understand what is required when studying the specific course.
  • Why are you suitable for the course? This is your chance to tell the Universities what skills and experience you have that will help you to succeed on the course.
Other questions to consider:
  • How do your current or previous studies relate to your chosen course?
  • What experience do you have that demonstrates your interest in the course?
  • Why do you want to go to University?
Skills and Achievements

Universities want to know if you have any accredited or non-accredited achievements and skills. These can include, CREST awards; Diploma of Achievement; Duke of Edinburgh Award; Young Enterprise. You can also mention positions of responsibility that you have held both in and out of school, e.g. school prefect and any other achievements that you are proud of, eg reaching grade 3 piano or being selected for the county netball team.

Hobbies and Interests

It is important to tell the Universities about your hobbies and interests but you need to think about how these demonstrate your skills and abilities. For example, rather than simply stating “I enjoy playing netball”, talk about how it had developed your skills as a team player, how it demonstrates your ability to cope with pressure and that you show the ability to mix with a range of different people

Work Experience

This is your chance to talk about any jobs, placements, work experience or voluntary work, especially if its relevant to your chosen course. Try to link these experiences to the skills and qualities mentioned in the Course Entry Profile…

A few do’s and don’ts when writing your personal statement

  • Do create a list of your ideas before attempting to write the real thing.
  • Do expect to produce several drafts before being totally happy.
  • Do ask people you trust for their feedback.
  • Do check university and college prospectuses, websites and Entry Profiles, as they usually tell you the criteria and qualities that they want their students to demonstrate.
  • Do use your best English/Welsh and don’t let spelling and grammatical errors spoil your statement.
  • Do be enthusiastic – if you show your interest in the course, it may help you get a place.
  • Don’t feel that you need to use elaborate language. If you try too hard to impress with long words that you are not confident using, the focus of your writing may be lost.
  • Don’t say too much about things that are not relevant – if you think that you are starting to, take a break and come back to your statement when you feel more focused.
  • Don’t lie – if you exaggerate you may get caught out at interview when asked to elaborate on an interesting achievement.
  • Don’t rely on a spellchecker as it will not pick up everything – proof read as many times as possible.
  • Don’t leave it to the last minute – your statement will seem rushed and important information could be left out.
  • Don’t expect to be able to write your personal statement whilst watching TV or surfing the internet – this is your future, so make the most of the opportunity to succeed.

I know this guidance isn’t extensive, but hopefully it will be a starting point for some of you looking to apply to University… If you have any questions about writing your personal statement feel free to post them below and I will get back to you, or as usual you can ask me on Twitter at @Jen_EHU Good luck with your applications! If there are any other topics you would like me to cover over the coming blog posts, let me know and I will do my best to include them… Thanks for reading Jen 🙂

Well needed weekend break!

I write this blog from a hotel in Bournemouth, on a well deserved break from University with my mum.

It’s nice to give myself a couple of days break from my Uni work – I’ve got SO much of it at the minute, I have seven assignments, a portfolio, a standards file and exams to revise for… On top of all this the hunt for jobs has started.

Even though I’m finding very little time for any ‘me’ time at the minute I wouldn’t change a thing, it’s all so exciting and ultimately a count down to becoming a teacher!

I’m officially on the countdown to Christmas now too after seeing the first coca-cola advert last night… Which got me thinking about how on earth I’m going to have time to fit in all the Christmas shopping I have to do! Looks like it’s going to have to be an online shopping job!

Just a short blog tonight just to give you a quick update on what I’m up to… In my next blog I’m going to give you a more in-depth look at one of my modules, environmental physiology and will upload pictures of some of the dissections we have done over the last few weeks.

Don’t forget you can keep up to date with what I’m up to on twitter @Jen_EHU

Thanks for reading 🙂