Alexandra studied the Mathematics Education MA at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE). She talked to us about her experiences studying part-time.
Why our Mathematics Education MA?
The IOE is well respected and has a good reputation. It has good transport links so is convenient to get to. And the course was offered part-time so I could fit it around part-time teaching work and family commitments. I had already completed my PGCE there and was happy to return. Also, I was able to transfer Masters credits from my PGCE towards this.
What were your first impressions of the IOE?
The lecturers really knew what they were talking about. This hasn't changed at all. That the library is the most relevant library to my studies that I can find as it is focussed on educational material. This sort of access may not be possible at other institutions that aren't specialising in education.
“What is the best thing about your course?
The structure of the course means I can fit it around family life and teaching commitments and a couple of serious hobbies.
What is the biggest challenge you faced while studying?
Establishing a relationship with other students on my course was a challenge. A lot of us are practicing teachers who turn up once a week for evening lectures and that's the extent of our presence in the IOE. Online group tasks have helped to overcome this, particularly when groups have been randomly allocated. It has given us the ideal opportunity to discuss things together but in a way which fits around all our respective lives.
What are your career goals?
I enjoy reading and learning but I also enjoy teaching. I am still uncertain as to whether I want to establish a career with a research focus or a teaching focus or whether it is possible to somehow merge the two. Currently then, I am considering whether to pursue a PhD or whether to aim to become a maths co-ordinator in a primary school. My Masters has prepared me for both of these options. As such, I feel that the programme has not only opened new doors for me but has also prevented me from shutting any along the way.
Do you think studying at the IOE is a good investment?
Yes. I think the IOE's reputation means my CV is enhanced by having IOE Masters and PGCE qualifications. Not only will employers know that I have received thorough training but they will also be aware that I must have taken advantage of this training in order to secure the qualifications. Even if they don't recognise this, I certainly do and I believe that I am better able to do my job as a result of the training I have received. As well as having improved my teaching, thereby benefitting the children I work with, the promotions I may seek further down the line may be more achievable.
Is there anything else you would like to say about your time at IOE?
Just that it has most definitely been the best place for me and, as someone who is self-motivated but still trying to balance family life with career aspirations, it has consistently provided thorough courses which meet my needs.