We spoke to final year student Sophie Vis about her experiences as an Education with Psychology student and what she plans for once she graduates.
Developing a passion
'I originally applied to study BA Education with Psychology because I knew I wanted to work with children after completing my degree. I always thought about going into teaching but didn't think I was confident enough to do so. Then after learning a lot about children's development, family policies and education in the UK from various units in my degree, my passionate for teaching grew.'
Working with two departments
'What I really enjoy about this course, which differentiates Bath from other universities, is that as the name suggests, it works with two departments. The course is delivered by the Education and Psychology departments. This means that we are able to learn about child development and the role of family from two very different perspectives. These work well together when it comes to constructing an understanding of both children and young people.'
Choosing my assignments
Although there are a few exams, most of our assessments are based on coursework, which I personally prefer. I've enjoyed the education units slightly more because in the second and final year especially, we are given more freedom to choose a particular topic for our essays. This makes our assignments extremely relatable and personal. On the other hand, everyone usually has the same essay title for the psychology essays which tend to be focused on theories and psychological disorders.
Support from the University
'I think the workload in the first and second years was very well balanced and that enabled me to take part in dance shows, volunteering groups and other fun activities on campus. The final year is proving to be more challenging in terms of work-life balance but I'm finding my units very interesting and my personal tutor, as well as dissertation supervisor, have been very supportive.
'One clear advantage of this course is that it is quite small so you always have people to talk to and work with. The lecturers are very friendly and approachable too which makes the course even more enjoyable.'
An eye-opening placement
'Being on placement made me realise how much I like primary teaching. I particularly loved working with the early years and up to Year 2s and have since decided to specialise in that age group. I want to be present at the very beginning of children’s education, helping them transition from learning through play to a more formal classroom setting. I learnt that teachers play an instrumental role in developing children’s love of learning and well-being, reaffirming my decision that going into primary teaching is right for me.
'My experience working in a school on placement was very different to the schools where I had previously volunteered. It was challenging as the hours were extremely long and my job was also very demanding but I absolutely loved working with the children so that made it worth it. The whole experience was eye-opening. I learnt a lot about the challenges children face at school which the curriculum does not take into account and I learnt a lot from working with amazing teachers and support staff.
'Whilst I was on placement I received amazing support from my placement tutors. This really helped me through the challenges.'
Linking placement back to university work
'My dissertation has focused strongly on EAL pupils (Pupils with English as an Additional Language) and since many teachers receive little training on how to support those pupils, I feel even more prepared for my training year because of what I’ve learnt through my own research.
'My units this year have been particularly useful in preparing me for next year too. For example, I’ve learnt a lot about educational inequalities which are still very present both in low and high income countries and I’ve also learnt more about the use of technology in education and how this can benefit children with different needs. With this knowledge in my mind, I know I will be more equipped to teach children wherever I end up teaching, whether that is in England or even abroad if I decide to move one day.'
Applying to Cambridge for a PGCE
'Thanks to my experience and the knowledge I've gained at university, I now know that I want to be a teacher. I'm confident that I will do a good job. Initially, I thought I was aiming too high when I applied to Cambridge for a PGCE but I'm glad I did. I still have a few conditions to meet before I go to Cambridge (such as getting a 2:1) but the offer is there and I couldn't be more excited!'