For Chinese student Shaofang Lin, discovering the Post-Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies not only allowed her to return to the job she loved - it saved her working a gruelling 70 hour week to save for a full-time PGDE.
Shaofang, who completed a teaching qualification in her home country before following her husband to Scotland and settling down in Banffshire, has a passion for learning and always intended to return to the classroom.
But with a three-year-old daughter to care for and a qualification that does not match the requirement for full registration as a teacher in Scotland, she thought her only option would be to save to take a year off to study for a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) – the route most commonly taken by those who have already completed a subject-specific degree and want to become a teacher.
“Although I have a few years teaching experience in China working with pupils equivalent to P1 to P6, I knew I would need some help to get up to speed with the Scottish curriculum and educational policies,” she said.
“I thought the only way to do this was through a PGDE, although it would have meant repeating some of the practical side of teaching I had already covered. It is something I was prepared to do but practically, it meant that I needed to take on two jobs, mostly in the evenings and at weekends, and work up to 70 hours a week to try and save enough to cover being a full-time student for a year.
“It was not very conducive to family life but I want to teach and it seemed the only way.”
Then Shaofang heard about the University’s unique Post-Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies and said it was like a ‘lifeline’.
It meant she could take on a full-time teaching role at Macduff Primary School while receiving additional support and training.
“The course is an ideal fit for me,” Shaofang added. “My days are long and I often need to study in the evening but I am used to hard work and this is not a problem.
“The course has been wonderful to ease the transition into a Scottish school. It’s allowed me to get back into the classroom before I lose touch with my practical skills while gaining the important extra knowledge I need to ensure I am meeting all the requirements of the curriculum.
“My school and the University have been incredibly supportive. My head teacher has been wonderful and has been there to give me a lot of help and support. Also, I cannot thank Mrs Mulligan enough for all her support during the online sessions, emails and feedback.”
“I’m grateful that this alternative route exists. I have a real passion for learning and hope I can pass that on to the children I teach.”