Final year BA (Hons) English student, Alex Round completed a work placement at Sandwell Academy, working directly with the students. She answered a few questions for us about the practicalities and benefits of her time on placement.
Where did you complete your work placement?
I completed my work placement at Sandwell Academy, volunteering on evenings and working a few days a week to help with revision classes.
How did you secure your placement?
I needed to take on a voluntary placement for my Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, that and I really wanted teaching experience for future job prospects!
How did your tutors encourage and advise you?
I contacted my tutors and discussed with them what I was going to do, they were incredibly proud and helped me out with any application forms to be sent in and gave me advice on how to prove effective in a classroom when teaching.
What kind of work did you get involved with on your placement?
I helped out during revision classes, so I conducted group discussions with secondary school students to help them prepare for their GCSEs. I talked to them about their career plans as well as any academic concerns and planned small revision activities for them.
What was the main thing you learnt on your placement?
I learnt how much I actually wanted to pursue a career in the field. I really enjoy discussing ideas with students and inspiring them. It was such a rewarding thing to do!
Has your placement helped you with your course?
Incredibly! It has helped me gain confidence in forming my own ideas to plan for assignments! Teaching students also helps the teacher. It has also helped me with time management. By balancing the placement and my own work, I found that I was using my time more effectively.
Has your placement given you a better idea of what you’d like to do once you graduate?
As a result of this placement, I have been offered a School Direct Salaried Scholarship in September after I graduate, along with a partially funded Master’s degree after my training year. Excited is an understatement! Now I am only a few steps from pursing my dream career as a Literature Lecturer, with qualifications and teaching experience!
What is the best piece of advice you took from your placement?
Don’t ever underestimate yourself. Starting new things and changing your routine is hard for many people. But never turn down any opportunities and honestly it always works out in the end.
What advice do you have for student’s thinking about their placements?
Just to push through with it, at the end of the day a work placement is supposed to enrich you with experience and inspire you to think about your future. Pick something that could potentially help you with your career, or if you are not sure about what you want do after university (which is totally fine), then pick something that will engage you, choose something you feel will benefit you. You never know what may be offered to you, there’s so much out there!