Lockdown did many things to all of us. For those working in a job they may not be happy in, or even on a course which isn’t quite ticking the right box, it gave us a chance to reevaluate our current position. Some of you may have changed jobs, or planned a future in a profession more suited to your skills and professional passions. Maybe teaching is one of those.

The Open University (OU) in Wales is now taking applications for its 2022 PGCE course – a route to becoming a primary or secondary school teacher. The course leads to Qualified Teacher Status and is taught in either English or Welsh.

Lasting two years, the OU’s PGCE combines academic study with placements at one of the university’s partner schools across Wales. Students already working in a school can choose a salaried route and combine their studies with their job. Students on the OU’s part-time route can learn alongside other commitments and take up placements at a partner school.

Is teaching future generations something you really want to do?

Teaching has always been a passion for mum-of-three Ramatu Mustapha. She studied geology at university in Nigeria, before moving to Wales in 2005. Five years later, she began volunteering at a homework club in Cardiff, before becoming a teaching assistant shortly afterwards.

Through the OU’s course, she receives a salary while working full-time as an unqualified teacher and studies 20 hours a week for a PGCE degree in Maths.

Ramatu told us……

“My friend told me about the OU. They were insistent that it would be the best route for me as I have a family and need my studies to be flexible.

“I’ve always wanted to teach. Everybody tells me how warm I am with the kids and how receptive they are to me. I also have a passion for maths, so teaching that subject seemed like the perfect fit.”

Another PGCE student is Michael Rees who works as a science technician in Ysgol Gyfun Rhydywaun in Rhondda Cynon Taff. Welsh and Science are two subjects that have always been important to him. 

In 2020, when he was 23, he decided to combine his passions by becoming a Welsh language secondary school teacher – studying a PGCE in science with the Open University in Wales.

Michael told us…..

“Initially, I heard about the OU on the Welsh Government website. I was looking at routes into teaching which would still allow me to earn money. From there, I went to the OU website, applied, and here I am doing my PGCE.

“It’s hard work, but it’s incredibly rewarding. The chance to inspire pupils and see them taking your knowledge on board is fantastic.”

Sarah Stewart is the Director of the OU in Wales’ PGCE programme, she said……

“Since our launch in October 2020, we’ve welcomed more than 280 new aspiring entrants to the teaching profession across Wales, studying across the Primary and Secondary phases, specialising in a range of important subjects and through the medium of Welsh or English. 

“The global pandemic has shown the central role schools play in our communities and the critical part teachers play in the learning and wellbeing our children and young people. With the phased development of a new Curriculum for Wales, there has never been a more rewarding and worthwhile time to become a teacher.”

“You never know what the children will say or what they’ll do.”

We put a call out to some teaching friends of SOUTH WALES LIFE and asked them to tell us the things they enjoy about teaching, as a career. Here’s six of the best…..

Job Stability

Jobs in teaching are usually readily available after qualification, and teachers will always be needed.

Teaching What You Love

You get to teach something you truly love and pass your knowledge on to the next generation.

Working With Children

It’s kind of the biggest part of the job, so we knew we’d get this one. But Steve in Tredegar told us – “You never know what they’ll say or what they’ll do.”

Every Day Is Different

It seems if you become a teacher, it’s pretty much guaranteed that no two days will be the same.

Every Year is Different

We think you get where we’re going with this. Your classes your curriculum will change every year which offers flexibility to switch things.

Plan Your Year

Teachers get all weekends, major holidays, and summers off, so a teacher’s schedule is fantastic – especially if you have kids yourself.

Registration for the OU’s 2022 PGCE course can be found on the OU in Wales website HERE