Get into Teaching: Leah Tiffany’s Story

My name is Leah Tiffany , I am 23 years old, I am studying my PgCE at the University Centre South Essex 2020-2021 and this is my story.

I am studying education specializing in dance in the FE & HE Sector and hoping to come away with my Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (FE and Skills Sector) (PgCE). 

I previously attended South Essex College for four years at Dimensions Dance Company (L3 Dip, HNC, HND). After attaining a distinction and graduating from my HND course I felt confident and prepared to enter the dance industry. I was offered a place at Creative Academy on the 3rd year top up degree programme which then led to many opportunities in the entertainment & dance industry. I then worked as a performer for three years, met some amazing people and opened my own business specializing in Competitive Acro Dance @raw__academy. Performing is a huge passion of mine and I want to thank everyone who supported me.

University Centre South Essex is great value for money and has a diverse range of people which promote inclusion. From a total of five and a half years in education at South Essex College and University Centre South Essex, I have always felt they have provided me with a wide range of support. After my induction for the PGCE programme I was excited to begin my next journey and train in the education sector.

Doing higher education has opened my mind to explore my sector and expand my knowledge into other related sector. The PgCE course has enabled me grow from an instructor to an educator. I know how challenging teaching can be and now I feel more experienced and knowledgeable on how to work with a diverse range of learners whilst incorporating professional standards within my teaching. Higher education is a challenge and I made some mistakes along the way. We are all human (even us teachers), “Show me a teacher who doesn’t make mistakes every single day, and I’ll show you a teacher that isn’t looking hard enough.” - Dylan William. 

Life throws things from all angles and throughout my time I have had multiple life changes that has affected my learning. After leaving local authority care and experiencing a range of living situations I felt the college and the University Centre ensured I received all the help I needed. The safeguarding team have given me one-to-one assistance which helped me be more organized and I felt comfortable with my progress coach. Knowing that I struggle with academic work, my tutor has helped me every step of the way, providing one-to-one help and appropriate recourses to help me do my work to the best of my ability. Having previously being on the 2019-2020 course unfortunately my circumstances did not allow me to commit my all to the course and I was unable to finish. Fortunately the support from my tutor gave me the courage to continue my studies this year and intermit. I was so close to giving up but was moved by the belief that my tutors had for me and was given continuous support throughout the year.

The PGCE course offers a part-time & full-time programme, which is perfect for those who have other commitments. Our course leader Chris Brookes really is a big inspiration to us all on the programme and is very passionate about the education sector.
It was really simple to find a placement to deliver my teaching practice as the university a huge variety of subjects and offers many courses which you can apply to have your placement at. My time in education has been met with friendliness and  high quality care as well as being easy to get to and full of opportunities. 

My greatest achievement so far is being the first student on the full time PgCE course to be graded three Outstanding’s (1) in our graded observations. Starting the course at a satisfactory level (3) I never would of thought I would of achieved this but with supportive tutors, mentors & peers I have achieved a big goal of mine which is to apply my knowledge to teaching practice and ultimately,  inspire students to learn and do what they love.

I hope to gain employment in the education sector and apply my professional knowledge to practice, to inspire & teach young learners who share the same passions. I hope to one day contribute to the dance curriculum and implement industry skills such as; Acrobats, Multi Skill, and Aerial Arts which is growing and expanding day by day. I hope to provide students with as much knowledge as they can to make them as versatile as possible and prepare them for life. The impact of both good and bad teaching will echo through generations. Our responsibility is to help those we work with, not just get a better education, but gain a better future.

Find out more about our Teaching programmes by visiting: https://www.southessex.ac.uk/teaching-and-training