Through the DLITE programme I have been in the privileged position to train to become a primary school teacher from my home in Highland. I have been able to maintain my job as a children’s service worker in the Invergordon area throughout the 18 month training which has been of benefit to me both financially and in terms of continued professional development. I have enjoyed the comradery that has developed between DLITER’s in Highland. We have very much supported each other through the process. I found the course content to be, for the most part, informative and engaging. As for most people I regard being on placement as the highlight of the PGDE experience. I loved being on the coal face and trying things out in the classroom, putting the theory into practise. I have to commend the University of Aberdeen for the sensible placement schools we were allocated considering how vast an area Highland is. I have enjoyed the ability to mould the timetabling of coursework around my life and would advise any future DLITER’s to be strict with themselves about timeframes for the completion of work so as to keep on top of it all. Network days were helpful and interesting, they were often held in Inverness or Dingwall with us having to travel to Aberdeenshire on very few occasions. I’m not going to pretend that it hasn’t been a juggling act at times, particularly around essay hand-in time when you are drained after being on placement and your back at your real job but, on the whole, my experience has been overwhelmingly positive. I would fully endorse the course as a means of obtaining high quality teacher training in your local area. My colleagues and I are now entering our probation year in schools located near our homes, children, friends and family and are excited about our future careers and opportunities.
The DLITE course is a fantastic opportunity for those who wish to study whilst staying at home and continuing current employment. The course is flexible; lectures are recorded so you can listen to these at an appropriate time for you and engage with the online environment. Placement schools were close to home and network days were arranged in Highland so travel through to Aberdeen was occasional and transport was provided on these occasions. Due to other commitments, I may not have been able to commit to a full time course so DLITE was the best route into teaching for me. What other course would you able to listen to lectures, in the comfort of your own home, at a time that suits you, with a cuppa, biscuit and jammies on?!
The PGDE DLITE course has allowed me to fulfil one of my ambitions while staying at home and continuing to work. Becoming a primary teacher is something I thought I would never be able to achieve as a mature student with an established family life in the Highlands. Throughout the course I have treated study as a ‘job’ and timetabled it into my week. This has been difficult at times with deadlines, family commitments and the curve balls that life sometimes throws at you. However, the flexibility of the course and the support of my fellow students and tutors have meant that I really could fit study in to the nooks and crannies of my life. Placements were an invaluable experience. The network days were a fantastic chance to meet with other students and discuss experiences as well as build a bank of resources and cement knowledge and understanding. Above all this course has given me the chance to do something I never thought I would get the opportunity to do and I am now looking forward to starting my probation year with my very own class.
DLITE has meant everything to me as it has been the only feasible way for me to return to teaching as I would not have been able to have commuted to Aberdeen full time. However, I think the full time route would have been smoother simply because I never realised how tough it would be to work and study at the same time. It is truly exhausting after a hard day at work to know that there are student tasks, a few tutor tasks, reading, assignments or placements information to complete. The upside is that it’s definitely made me time manage and prioritise more effectively. Once I realised how tough it was I got into a good pattern, ploughed through the work at a good pace and enjoyed many activities set. Many tutors set the work out effectively which really helped. This made a significant difference in finding tasks and being able to spend more time on reading and research. But- and this is the big but- I could never have completed all the work if it wasn’t for the friends I have meet through the DLITE programme. The nature of being a small group has been invaluable. Regardless of the distance between us we remain in contact everyday supporting, reassuring and encouraging one another. Plus, as we are all Highland teachers, we get to see each other on CPD courses or even after work as quite a few of us live quite near each other – a huge bonus. I know I will be in contact with the Highland DLITE gang throughout my teaching career. Truly delighted (no pun meant) to be teaching again. Thanks to our local authority co-tutor and thanks Aberdeen.
The part time nature of this course has provided me with the unique opportunity to purse a teaching career whist also allowing me to maintain a full time job all without requiring me to uproot my life in order to do so. As well as allowing me to fulfil my ambition of becoming a teacher, this course also introduced me to like-minded individuals who share the same passion.
Challenges – It is often difficult to distinguish between the changes and the achievements in undertaking this course as often the most challenging aspects have been the most rewarding. Prior to undertaking this course I was warned the undertaking study in a virtual environment can be isolating and somewhat lonely. This could not be further from the truth. I have made many new friends through my post grad study and always felt well supported by tutors via consistent email contact and online collaborative sessions. Network days have allowed the opportunity to build relationships with fellow students and tutors alike which continue to thrive in an online environment. Other challenges in this course present themselves similarly to those of any online learning environment. It is important to strike a balance between work, life and study and there are short spells when this balance becomes tricky. However, I feel overwhelming that there is no challenge on this course that cannot be overcome with a combination of good organisation, dedication and strong network of fellow students to call upon in the wee hours of the morning.
Rewards – Placement is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding aspects of the course. It allows an opportunity to put the theory and strategy into practice often with unexpected results. Reflecting upon lesson throughout placement is one of the most beneficial learning opportunities experienced throughout the course. I have found mentor teachers to be enthusiastic, encouraging and very supportive. Not only are they very willing to share their own knowledge they are also highly motivated to help you succeed and become the best teacher you can be. This truly is a vocation where one goal unites all.
What I enjoyed about the DLITE course:-
- Being able to stay in Inverness and complete the course.
- Being able to keep my job and work between placements.
- Meeting up with other people on the course at the network days and pastoral sessions.
- Having support from the other students through online messages and chats.
- Getting to know other people who will also be doing their probation year in Highland Council.
- Getting help and support from university staff when needed.
- The network days when teachers delivered training and shared ideas/resources for placements and probation year.
Challenges of the DLITE course:-
- Sometimes felt like a full-time course and at times it was difficult to cover all the coursework when working full-time.
- Understanding how to complete and where to find some of the coursework.
- I am looking forward to next year, although I’m a little nervous too. I know I have the support from other people from the DLITE course who are also starting their probation year. I also found the network days where teachers showed us their resources and shared their classroom ideas very helpful when thinking about next year.
Being a mother of 3 young children, currently aged 7, 6 and 4, alongside working part-time as a P.S.A., I really thought that I would never be able to fulfil my long-held ambition of becoming a teacher. However the DLITE course offered me this opportunity. But it was not only the chance to continue to keep my income and fit the coursework around my family commitments whilst remaining in my home-town that attracted me to this course. Having studied previously with Aberdeen University I was confident, and expected, to receive high quality support, training and guidance from skilled and experienced staff. What I didn’t account for was the strength of relationships that I would build with my fellow DLITERS who have been my rock throughout what is without doubt a highly intense period of training. Yes there will be times when you are beyond tired, stressed to the hilt and having self-doubts but playing such a pivotal role in helping to develop children is really a privilege and I can genuinely say that it is worth it! Pardon the pun but I was delighted to be able to do the DLITE course and whilst it certainly has its challenges I would, nevertheless, definitely recommend this to anyone wanting a rewarding and inspiring career.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to complete the DLITE PGDE course as it was the only feasible way into teaching for me. I run a business with my partner and could not afford the time, relocation or economic impact of leaving work for a year to study the PGDE course at university. The DLITE course offered me the chance to get into teaching with placements in nearby schools and the majority of coursework done online or in sessions in Dingwall or Inverness. This has enabled me to continue working while studying. I have found the course to be enjoyable with a great support network supplied by the course tutor and other students in the cohort, without them and the support from staff at my placement schools I would have found the experience much more challenging and isolating as I am the only student in my area. The network days have been insightful and very interesting, particularly those based in Inverness and Dingwall, which were much more accessible to me. The literacy and numeracy inputs have been particularly useful in offering practical ideas that I have used in my placement classes. I have also found the course to be challenging in terms of the work load, assignments and placements. However, I have learned a lot from these experiences and have developed time management strategies to manage work and home life. I found it a bit difficult to attend some sessions in Aberdeen and Inverurie as this entailed an overnight stay and a lot of travel, however I appreciate that this is due to the remoteness of where I live and the other students were happy to collect handouts and relay information to me if I could not attend in person. I also found MyAberdeen difficult to use at first. I am not accustomed to blogging and it took a little while to become confident in navigating my way around the site and contributing to online forums. Overall I have found the DLITE PGDE course to be challenging, demanding and enjoyable. I feel that juggling the demands of work life with the course have set me in good stead to manage the probation year ahead. It’s also comforting to know that I have the continued support network of other students and tutor behind me as I embark on what I anticipate to be another demanding but interesting year ahead.
For me, the DLITE programme opened opportunities that I never thought would be possible. As a working mum of two young children I couldn’t afford to leave work to study, therefore DLITE was the perfect form of study to fit my hectic home life. I could continue in my PSA role at a local school whilst studying at nights when my children were in bed. My Head teacher supported me throughout my studies and allowed me time out to attend my placements throughout the 18 months. My experience as a PSA have put me in good stead as I have been able to witness some great classroom practice before my placements started. However, the most important element of my studies is the support I have received from my peers, without them I would not have reached the end of my studies. Having always dreamt of a teaching career I feel immensely proud of my achievements as I never thought I would be able to fulfil my dream after having my family before my career. I have enjoyed the network days as I have the opportunity to meet a variety of professionals who have given us some fantastic ideas to improve practice and also to share conversations with others who share the same passion about teaching as I do. If I was to give advice to future students I would say make sure you get yourself into a routine as early as possible with this course to help keep things manageable and reduce stress levels as much as possible. Invest in a good diary where you can keep note of passwords and dates as you will be juggling a lot of things at one time. I also kept a notebook and wrote any recommended books, websites and resources in it so I could refer back during placement time. The course is tough, but it is worth the end product. I am now looking forward to my probationer year and excited for my teaching career. Good luck, have fun with it and remember to keep in regular touch with peers as they will understand how you are feeling and help keep your spirits high when things get on top of you.
STUDENT TEACHER 10
Being able to take this course meant for me being able to realise a long held dream. Without the provision of a part time distance learning PGDE I simply would not have been able to become a teacher. The course is full of challenges. You need to juggle family life and study. You need to be able to fully commit to a demanding set of placements and you have to be able to attend the Saturday network days on top of the online input. However the support of the university staff and crucially the peer support of your class mates and local cohort will see you through a lot. The university teaching staff are extremely caring and are only too happy to answer and help with even the simplest of problems. They are always ready to contribute to debate and provide further reference when needed. Our local authority cohort tutor has provided a very high level of pastoral care and extra direction and always seemed to be there to support us through the inevitable emotional and practical wobbles that come with doing such a demanding plan of study. Facing my NQT year now I can look back and see that the university inputs have helped steer you to a place of becoming a teacher that will set you up well for honing your craft to come. I feel daunted and excited in equal measure and feel that the university has led me to a place where I feel conversant in teaching life and ready to take the plunge into having my own class. This is no mean feat given that teaching is such a demanding job that requires so many skills to be applied simultaneously. I am however more sure than ever that this course has led me in so many ways to realising a dream of many years. Without a course such as this for me teaching would remain an unattainable goal.