IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Q&A with Charlotte Milner

Charlotte completed her Geography PGCE in 2020.

Hi, Charlotte!

Tell us, what were you doing before you decided to start teacher training?

I previously worked at an international children’s rights organisation doing project management for research projects based in countries all over the world. Before that, I worked for a local authority where I worked on the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. 

So what motivates you to train to teach?

I had previously volunteered with Action Tutoring which offers free tutoring to pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds; I knew I wanted to work in education where I could make an impact on young people’s lives. I was also seeking a job where I would have agency and responsibility and where I could progress in my career.

I am passionate about developing pupils’ understanding of the world."

I am deeply passionate about geography and I knew I wanted to have a career where I could engage with the subject more directly. I see Geography as a fundamental subject in establishing pupils’ sense of place in the world and in developing a critical viewpoint from which to understand contemporary issues. 

What is it like to train in a London school?

Training in a London school has exposed me to a breadth of invaluable experiences. It has given me the opportunity to teach pupils from a wide range of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. This has had a profound influence on my approach to teaching and has encouraged me to explore the appropriateness and accessibility of geography to pupils from different backgrounds.

And why did you choose IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society?

I chose the UCL Institute of Education because of its excellent reputation as a world-leading provider of Initial Teacher Training.

How did you find the teacher training experience overall?

I found my time at IOE to be a very enriching experience in which I acquired in-depth knowledge of a range of educational philosophies, issues, and perspectives. This has been particularly valuable in developing my own philosophy and aims for education, which has shaped the way I teach. The course has also enabled me to be creative and try out new ideas in the classroom.

What impact do you think your time at IOE will have on your future career – and where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

My time at the IOE has had an immeasurable impact on my future career. Due to the support and encouragement of my tutors, as well as the high-quality teaching I received, I have gone on to have my second assignment, Classroom Strategies for Tackling the Whiteness of Geography, published in the Geographical Association’s Teaching Geography journal. This has given me a number of opportunities to connect with others in the geography teaching community.

I have also been shortlisted for the GA Award for Leading Excellence in Geography and in April 2021, I will be speaking at the GA conference. IOE has also invited me to lead a session on Geography, Race and Education in 2021. These opportunities would not have been possible were it not for the high-quality teaching and support available at the IOE. Completing the PGCE has strengthened my ambitions to become a Head of Department, which is where I see myself in 5 years’ time.

Were there any challenges and how have you overcome them?

I found the most challenging part of the course to be putting my ideas and philosophies into tangible lessons. Through planning and testing different strategise, and evaluating their success in the classroom, I have refined my teaching strategies and developed a repertoire of suitable resources and activities.

How has your school supported you as a trainee/newly qualified teacher?

My school has been highly supportive in further developing my knowledge and practical teaching experience. Through providing strong support, thorough feedback, and weekly professional studies sessions, I have been able to develop high-quality teaching and classroom management strategies. I have also had the opportunity to observe teachers from a range of subjects and get involved in various opportunities such as running after-school clubs and attending extra-curricular trips and field trips.