We know that placements are an important part of your experience during your course. We’ve already covered what to wear but what about how you get there?
For the second post in this series we’re focusing on travelling to teaching placements. We've spoken to final-year Primary Education students, Phil and Sharonjit, to give you an overview and tips to make your journeys as smooth as possible.
If you’ve been to an Open Day or an interview, you’ll already know that we ask you to be prepared to travel up to an hour and half to get to and from your placements and you’re likely to find that some are further than others. The good news is Birmingham and the surrounding areas are well connected not just by road but also bus, train and tram (metro) so getting around is perfectly possible if you plan!
At the start of your course you’ll be asked how you’ll be travelling, whether that’s by car or public transport as well as your term time address. We’ll also ask you if you know of any schools that might offer you a placement as we know some students arrive with pre-existing relationships with schools. Finally, we’ll need to know if you have any extenuating circumstances, or if you have any conditions or disabilities, which we’ll need to consider when assigning placements.
Phil and Sharonjit's top tips for planning and making the most of your journey:
- Plan your route and then do a dry run of your journey at the time you would travel so you know what the traffic is likely to be like. It’s no use doing a dry run on a Sunday afternoon if your usual travel time will be 7am on a weekday! Apps like Google Maps and Waze are great for giving you live updates on the traffic situation and any roadworks etc. that might affect your journey.
- Sometimes it’s easier to leave earlier to get to school and/or stay at school later before setting off for home as this way you avoid the traffic and busy public transport. You can use your extra time at school to plan and/or mark which also saves carrying things unnecessarily, which brings us to our next point…
- Think very carefully about what you need to take home or bring into school so you don’t have to carry things unnecessarily. This is especially important if you’re using public transport. Definitely invest in a good backpack and perhaps a trolley case if you plan to take a lot of things around with you.
Put the phone number of the school/college in your phone contacts in case of an emergency, such as transport breaking down.
- If you’re driving it can be good to find a podcast to listen to on the way into school as this really gets you in the mood to learn by the time you arrive. If you’re on public transport you also have the great alternative of reading a book.
- On the way home, music can really help you unwind. If you’re using public transport though you can also use your time to reflect on how your teaching has gone that day and make some notes so that you don’t forget before you get home.
- Another good tip if you’re on public transport is to get off the bus a stop earlier in the morning and walk the rest of the way. Weather permitting, this is great for body and mind and really gets the blood pumping to start the day.
How much do you spend as a student?
Education Studies student, Mollie, gives us the lowdown on her finances on a typical day.