Moustapha Bechir is a Westminster Alumnus who graduated with a Bsc (Hons) in Biomedical sciences in year 2014. He is currently doing a PGCE (teacher training) with secondary school Paddington Academy with the goal of becoming a Biology teacher. Today he shares with us how he has found his way to teaching.
Hi Moustapha, thank you for sharing your experience with us today.
‘Firstly I would like to thank you and the coordinators for this interview. It is quite an honour to be invited to contribute my story to be shared with others at the university, and to contribute to the very programme that set me on a journey I never looked back from.
With that being said, where would you like me to start from?
Ok, how about starting from the beginning?
‘Well, in the beginning, I contacted the CDC because I wanted to develop some sort of career plan for after graduation. At the time I looked at teaching as an option, the Career Consultant kindly suggested the UWAS (University of Westminster Associates in Schools) scheme in order for me to gain a better understanding of working in schools and being a teacher. This was the first time I heard about the scheme so I was a little bit unsure about taking such a move. I decided to read about the scheme and see for myself what it was all about. I quickly realised from reading about the scheme that it offered everything I needed to help me gain a full understanding of working in schools. And if that wasn’t enough I’d also receive a certificate and a huge boost to my CV.’
How did you find your UWAS training?
‘The three training days were not only valuable for my 15 day school placement, they were of a calibre that allowed me to have resources and an understanding that I use every day now in my training year. The training varied from safeguarding all the way to details about how the brain develops through learning. There was so much I could take away and apply from the first day I set foot in the school. The UWAS coordinators, with their deep understanding of schools made sure I was well equipped-to the point where I had a pro forma to serve as a journal for every day of my school placement.’
What was the highlight of your placement?
‘On my placement alone I felt like I made a big difference. This varied from helping a student understand something right up to guiding students with UCAS applications. One of the most valuable things I received from UWAS was a professional certificate of my school work experience as I touched upon earlier. This proved very helpful when I was applying for my PGCE.’
And now you’re on a PGCE! How are you finding it?
‘I have now almost completed two thirds of my training year. There is a lot of support now for trainees, especially if you choose a good programme. The CDC is very helpful with such matters. I have just returned from my second placement. I have taught at 2 schools of extremely different contexts. The best bit about this is seeing the range of learners, teaching styles and practices. There is much to face in terms of challenges and hard work, however it is all worthwhile when you help a child achieve something.’
Sounds like you’ve really found your calling, Moustapha. What would you like to say to others who may also be thinking about going into teaching?
‘When people say teaching is a rewarding career, I truly think that is an understatement.
I don’t wish to persuade others to become teachers, and I know it isn’t for everyone – but I do want to urge anyone with an interest, or even curiosity, to do the UWAS scheme and then at least then they would be able to decide for themselves if teaching is right for them.’
If you, like Moustapha, are thinking about teaching as a possible career option after you graduate, we strongly recommend participating in the UWAS scheme. The next intake is in June 2017, to prepare for placement to start in the Autumn term. For more information and how to apply, please see https://www.westminster.ac.uk/study/current-students/support-and-facilities/career-development-centre/work-placements/school-placements or get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org.