Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

Laura Dixon

PGCE School Direct NLTSA in MFL (French, German, Spanish)

Photo of Laura Dixon

About me

I grew up in the Yorkshire Dales and lived in the Bingley area until I went to study French and Russian at UCL. During my degree I tutored privately, ran my own study support projects and taught numerous classes of underachieving and NEET students throughout Hackney, Islington and Kensington and Chelsea boroughs.

During my year abroad I also gained a TEFL qualification and spent the year teaching English and then taught in a UK summer school. After finishing my finals I worked in an EAL as well as the MFL department in Leeds, where I gained a real insight into what teaching is like.

As well as a classroom teacher I’ve had experience managing projects and for two summers I became SLT, first Deputy and then Director at different residential large EFL summer schools.

Why I chose teacher training at Leeds

As I’ve had quite a lot of experience in different educational settings I really wanted to be involved in schools from the outset. I prefer learning by doing and really like the fact that I get to see schools on a regular basis. I think this really adds to my strategies and perceptions of different issues in school.  

My passion

I love working with young adults. They will brighten up my day and with the more challenging pupils there’s a great sense of accomplishment when you see them grasping concepts and participating in your lessons. I think MFL opens up the curriculum and indeed many doors to exceptional opportunities. I feel really passionate about opening mind-sets and widening horizons, which a modern foreign language definitely does.

My experience so far

I have really enjoyed studying a bit of theory and then seeing its application in different alliance schools where there is outstanding practice on a daily basis.

Having extremely enthusiastic, knowledgeable senior leaders, who are practicing in schools today, talk and interact with us on a weekly basis is invaluable and very enriching professionally.
I’m really looking forward to the enrichment project that we’ll get to do, which is very personal to me and can take place in whichever alliance school has the strongest link in my field of interest. Having a ‘3rd’ placement of sorts which expert practitioners is exciting to say the least.

My placements

I loved my first placement. I’ve been able to pick up teaching a 3rd language as well as seeing practice in Humanities and EAL, which particularly interests me. All the staff are really friendly and the department is great. My Learning Coach, who will oversee my progress as an ITT student over both placements is at my first school, which has been really nice so I can touch base or ask any questions that might arise about teaching and learning or wider school practices.

The University

The libraries and IT facilities at the University are great. Using the library is really simple. Every seminar room we’ve used has been very well equipped - it’s trying to find them the first time, which is difficult!

Student support in the School of Education has been wonderful. My tutor is fantastic, offering ideas and support when needed. Other tutors are equally welcoming and easy to talk to about work, study or generally anything that’s going on! No question is ever too small or stupid!

Outside of study

The SU is really good for food and socialising. As a school direct student I don’t spend an awful lot of time there but Kaffee and Kuchen is fab!

In terms of the city of Leeds – it is small enough to get to know quite quickly but there’s so much to do that you’ll never get bored.

My future

I want to ideally teach a mix of MFL and EAL in an inner city setting - there’s a strong possibility of employment with the alliance so it’ll be exciting to see the developments there later in the year.

My advice to anyone interested in School Direct…

Invest in a hard drive and get organised! The quicker you get to grips with E-Profile (pupil development software) the better. Always find as many positives as you can every week and enjoy it - it goes far too quickly!

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