Ben Hooper, Alumni, Initial Teacher Education
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Ben Hooper, Alumni, Initial Teacher Education


My name’s Ben Hooper. I completed a PGCE
in Education in Science: Biology and I graduated in 2016. I’m currently a
science teacher and SENCO at Sidney Stringer Academy which is an outstanding
Academy in the center of Coventry. I chose Birmingham for my teacher
training because it’s quite an exciting University. It’s well known,
well-established in the region. It’s got a good reputation for its teaching, for
its learning but also for its science as well. I had really good feedback from
other people that I know that had gone there and it was kind of somewhere where
I thought this is, yeah, this is the place. I chose teaching because it was an area
that somebody had introduced me to previously. Before I finished my
undergraduate degree I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to do. I know I’d done
Sciences, I wasn’t sure what came afterwards. A friend of mine said to me ‘why not
consider doing some Postgraduate Certificate of Education of Birmingham’ and
then maybe become a teacher. I thought ‘okay’, it looks quite good.
I thought I’d have a go. Stepped into it and then in the first few weeks I
realised this was for me. Now because I’ve got a bit of background, because my
brother does have significant learning needs and he does struggle with
education, he struggled throughout all of his school life. Once I’d arrived I
realised I wanted to make a difference to other children like him and make sure that
no one else had the same experience he did really. My fondest memories of my
time at Birmingham were probably our university lectures where we actually
got to do the practicals and we learned some really fun practicals that I
still use the classroom today. So every day is different. It’s one of those
things that’s really good about education and teaching, you will never have two days
the same. So one of the things that I really like about a SENCO role is, in
the morning I might be helping a parent fill in a referral form for
their child, I might be helping a child later on for support in their English or
maths or giving them some one-to-one teaching, I might be doing some mentoring
with some 16 plus students who maybe need to look at career guidance and
careers advice, I might be teaching biology, chemistry, physics, a whole
array of different topics depending on what the day is. Best tip that I
can give somebody who’s just starting that career in teaching is throw
yourself into it. Throw yourself into these things, see if you can do some
after-school clubs, don’t be afraid to get to know the student. If you’ve got
your naughtiest students, get to know them out of lessons and you’ll find out
they’re great. Actually just make the effort to throw yourself in and you’ll
be amazed what you get out of it. If I could describe the University of Birmingham in
one word, it would be exciting. It’s exciting because it’s a springboard for
a future career into teaching, it’s full of twists and turns and unknowns and you
never quite know where you’re gonna go next but the University of Birmingham really
helps you prepare for that exciting journey.

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