Chioma Dibor – PGCE (Early Years); MSc Learning for Sustainability graduate

Current employer: Supply Plus

Current job title: Supply Teacher

Current location: Plymouth

“I came over from Nigeria where I had just started to pursue a career in teaching and undertook the PGCE (early years/primary) at Plymouth University to develop my knowledge of teaching and learning... I would like to commend International Student Advice (ISA) for their wonderful support and for making my transition seamless.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

I came over from Nigeria where I had just started to pursue a career in teaching and undertook the PGCE (early years/primary) at Plymouth University to develop my knowledge of teaching and learning. Importantly, the PGCE offered the opportunity to gain school experience.

Since graduating in 2013 I have consistently worked as a supply teacher in schools in Plymouth whilst completing an MSc in Learning for Sustainability from which I graduated in 2014. I wanted to pursue my original interest in special educational needs and this has currently led me to explore a doctorate programme in inclusive education at Plymouth University.

How has your degree helped/influenced your career path?

My degree has provided the depth of knowledge and the opportunity to develop the right skills for my passion of teaching.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

That would be persuading primary schools that I could do the job. Having had barely a year to familiarise myself with the British curriculum, schools were not convinced of my ability. However, the story is different after two and half years of supply teaching.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

The most exciting thing that I have done is to embark upon the MSc Learning for Sustainability, as it made me reach beyond my comfort zone. In the end, my learning curve was so steep that it has spurred me on to believe that I can truly do and be anything I put my mind to.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could?

Considering that I was coming from a different curriculum and mode of practice, I should have opted for a Bachelors in Education in order to provide more time for assimilation instead of the PGCE. Also, I would have accessed the learning support earlier in my academic journey.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Pretty much the same advice I would give to anyone who is in the pursuit of anything: resilience is the key.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

So far I have spent four years studying at Plymouth University, and the learning support provided by the University is commendable. In fact, it was a lifesaver for me. It went a long way to help my studies, particularly as an international student who was crossing borders at geographical, cultural, and intellectual levels. The support really helped to provide assistant to all aspects of one’s being.

What lessons/skills did you gain from your course?

The ability to be more resilient than ever.

Did you undertake a placement during your degree and if so, how did this benefit you?

Yes I did. It gave great hands-on experience to supplement the course and helped to structure expectations.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

Plymouth was great for its easy access to information and support.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?

The University has an incredible support system which caters not only to a wide variety of challenges but is also willing to go the extra mile to address the challenges that are unique to the mixed population of international students.

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

I would like to commend the International Student Advice team for their wonderful support and for making my transition seamless.

Inspired by this story?

For more information about studying PGCE Primary, please visit our PGCE Primary (3-7) and PGCE Primary (5-11) page. For more information about our range of courses within the Plymouth Institute of Education, please visit the school page.

Want to find similar alumni?

If you would like to find out what other alumni from the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business are currently doing, please visit the education and teaching interest area.

children. iStock