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Finty Adams

Finty AdamsHead of Department, Dame Alice Owen's School

PGCE Secondary Science

What made you choose Middlesex University?

I had actually come into contact with Middlesex University through a job I did previously. I used to work at Keele University and it was there that I met the Dean of Middlesex University's Law School.

What made Middlesex stand out for me was the links it has with local schools. At a lot of London universities, you don't know where in the city you will end up teaching. You could live in North London and end up teaching in a school in South London.

What attracted you to your course and made you apply?

My course was accredited and I got to specialise in the subject area I had studied at degree level. I wanted to focus on biology and some universities try and push you to do chemistry.

I also really liked the fact that during my PGCE at Middlesex I spent time at the university each week. Some universities have block placements where you spend two months at the university and then don't really go back but at Middlesex, you have a four day placement each week and then spend one day on the university campus. Having this constant support throughout the course was great.

What aspects of your course did you enjoy most?

I think getting to know the schools I was placed in and also the great support network of people at the university. At Middlesex you have some lectures with PGCE students from other subject areas which is helpful as you get to learn about the teaching strategies applied by other trainee teachers in different subject areas.

I also really liked the fact the course focussed primarily on application rather than theory. All of our university assignments were based on our teaching practice so were really practical.

What is your fondest memory of life at Middlesex?

I think my fondest memory was my last day with students on my course. We had all passed and went to the Science Museum to watch an IMAX movie together. On our PGCE course we became a bit like a family and it was fantastic we had all succeeded.

What one piece of advice would you give to a prospective student interested in studying at Middlesex?

I would say ask about the links to schools and for advice on where would be best to live based on the schools you are likely to be placed in. Also make sure you prepare for a year of hard work but also make the most of your free time. Get organised!

How did your course and time at Middlesex help you to get where you are professionally today?

You need a professional qualification in order to teach so I couldn't have gone into teaching without one. Middlesex went beyond just helping me get my qualification though. The university has really good relationships with schools and my course tutor got a call from Dame Alice Owen's as the school had previously employed Middlesex graduates and was looking for a Biology teacher. He put my name forward and on the strength of his recommendation, I secured an interview. As a result, I am now working for one of the top schools in the country.

Why did you choose the career you studied for?

I worked really hard in my degree so I wanted a job that used what I had learnt while studying for a BSc in Biology.

What are the pros and cons of working within your professional field?

The days just fly by! I really enjoy building a rapport with students. Today I sang the Fresh Prince of Bel Air rap to a student! It's good to have a bit of banter to build those relationships. I also really enjoy being kept on my toes – students never miss a trick!

Other pros include the carer progression opportunities. I have just done a year post qualification and I have already been offered the role of Head of Department. Unlike other careers, it doesn't matter what age you are if you are ambitious. The pay is also good, as are the holidays! Colleagues are also really supportive – it isn't a really competitive environment. The main con is the work/life balance but the pros definitely outweigh the cons. It's a fun job.

How did you get your foot on the career ladder post university?

As mentioned earlier, this was thanks to my tutor. Middlesex has such good links with schools which really helps. I wouldn't be working for one of the best school in the country if my tutor hadn't had a good relationship with the school and been asked to suggest a possible candidate for the position of Biology teacher.

What has been your defining career break or highlight to date?

There have been two to date. Firstly securing a job at such a great school and then becoming a Head of department after only a year post qualification.

What does the future hold for you?

Progressing as a teacher. I don't just want to be a good teacher, I want to be the best! I would also like to go into teacher training at some stage. I loved my university experience and would like to play my part in other students' university experiences.

What are the top three career tips you would give to current students and recent graduates?

Build your contacts network, always going out of your way for people if you can and share resources. Don't be competitive. In teaching you need to be a team player.

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