When Priya Chaggar first visited Middlesex University on an open day, she immediately knew it was the right place for her to study primary education.
"I'd been to see another Greater London university and found the campus far too quiet," she says. "So when I saw what a buzzing vibe Middlesex had, I felt right at home! I spent half an hour speaking to a staff member – who turned out to be one of my tutors – and she was so helpful. She answered all my questions and my dad said, 'see, they're already giving you their time and it's only the open day!' That's when I decided to change Middlesex from second to first choice on my UCAS application, and it was the right move. The staff here are amazing – I'm always singing their praises."
Despite loving the course, her first teaching placement had Priya questioning her career choice. It was the strong support of her Middlesex tutors and placement teacher that helped her get through a particularly tough period during her first year of study and regain the confidence to stick with her chosen vocation.
"I had the worst class in school and came home crying every day for the first three weeks – the children were so mean! I thought I didn't have what it took after all. But my class teacher was great and offered loads of help with behaviour management. She even gave me her email address and told me to contact her if I had any problems in my second year."
Thanks to this support, Priya soon settled in and now says she'd like to go back and teach at her placement school in the future. "It was a great experience, and the fact that my teacher was really hands-on meant I soaked up so much. I worked closely with small groups throughout the placement so I could form a bond and really monitor their progress. I learnt when it was time to move certain pupils on, which is a skill I'll carry with me through my career."
Despite bumps along the way, Priya is flying through the Primary Education course and hasn't looked back. "I was met with a lot of obstacles in my first year – getting tonsillitis and falling behind on work was difficult – but the help I had from my teachers, mentors and tutors was incredible and helped me turn those negatives into huge positives."