I am currently studying at the University of Liverpool, where I am going into my third year of a Geography Bachelor of Arts. Without Academia I understand that my dream of studying in a red brick university wouldn’t have been achievable.

After my final year I plan on transferring to the University of Bristol to complete my master’s in teaching, which is why I  decided to contact Academia about doing a short internship whilst back home in Basel. Not only did I ask Academia in order to gain some classroom experience before my final year but also because I knew the environment would be accepting and that my learning goals would be achieved.

My school years at Academia were my most enjoyable and contented school years

I am a former Academia student and was a part of the student body from 2016 until 2018, these years were two of my most enjoyable and contended school years. Whilst attending Academia International School Basel I did my IGSCE’s in French, English literature, Maths and Geography as well as the higher AS and A Level qualifications in English language, Biology, History and German. Not only did these qualifications expand my opportunities for future studies but also deepened my interest and knowledge in certain subjects I hadn’t previously considered as being a potential career path. Not only did Academia prove to be positive in terms of education, I also have so many fond memories of it being such a welcoming and open environment where students and teachers alike formed open-hearted connections. My fondest memories at Academia are the SSL lessons, which were periods set aside for free study where I always remember there being such a family-like environment in which students would mutually understand and help each other with any work or difficulties.

My experiences being a teacher for the first time

During my three-week internship in June 2021 I gathered so many useful and transferrable skills. Due to it being the end of term not many ‘normal’ lessons took place however I gained experiences in delivering more versatile and imaginative lessons. In the first week I supervised the first year Geography students take their end of term ‘Mini Mocks’ as well as taking the second years alongside Nicole, the geography teacher at Academia international School, on a field trip around Basel. We explored the River Rhein and river features and visited a large damn, proving that visual learning is an important part of the classroom experience. Nicole and I also created our own map scavenger hunt which involved the students reading maps and following directions. Creating this exercise really helped broaden my sense of what being a teacher meant and how the job comes with so much freedom to explore creativity in learning.  In the second half of the short internship, I also came up with ideas for the class to do surrounding the theme of population. For example, we watched a video together and then I gave them question sheets which I had made myself or we played a few population games such as joining population sizes to the countries or definition games which proved that learning can be effective in a fun and more relaxed environment, not just talking to the students rather a more interactive and hands on way of learning. I also really enjoyed just observing how lessons took place and the student – teacher dynamics. This experience only further deepened my desire to become a teacher in the future, seeing how everyday was different in its own unique way.

My wish for the future: to become a Geography teacher

My hopes for the future are to get a place on the ‘Teaching Geography’ module at my university and then to do my masters year at the University of Bristol completing the PGCE with QTS. After this then I aim to become a geography teacher at a state school in England. However, for the nearer future I hope to be able to do another small internship at Academia International School as it has really provided with me with a new perspective on teaching and opened my eyes to just how diverse the job really can be. The smaller classes at Academia also really helped with the initial anxieties around teaching a class, as you got to know each student very quickly and felt a part of the school environment right away.

My advise for the students: enjoy every subject & don’t be too stressed

For students, embarking on their A Level and then thereafter degree level journey, what I would advise is to try and enjoy every subject and understand that the subject is usually way broader than what is covered in school. Study all potential careers from each subject and you will open doors you never thought about whilst sitting in the class studying that subject. Don’t be too stressed about the subjects you do end up choosing because what I have come to learn with geography is that the options are endless. Also, if you are planning on studying at a university researching all the options is very important as it will be your home for the next 3-5 years!

Author

Rachel Howden

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