Lucia Martin is completing our PGDip in Deaf Education so that she can become a Teacher of the Deaf. This qualification trains teachers to provide focused support to deaf children and their families. We spoke to Lucia about her experience of the course, Manchester, and her aspirations for the future.
How did you feel on your first day?
I had already attended the open day, so I felt very comfortable and excited on my first day at university. The tutors were friendly and encouraging, and we had time to meet other students and discuss who we were and why we had chosen a career in deaf education.
Why did you want to study at Manchester?
The course is full of opportunity because of the professional links the tutors have all over the world, and the city itself is vibrant and welcoming. For someone who doesn’t like to watch life pass them by, Manchester is full of unforgettable sporting and musical events.
What is your life here like?
I have an amazing lifestyle here. There are so many interesting places to visit from the beautiful Fletcher Moss Gardens to the vast Heaton park, the wonderful bars and quirky cafés in Manchester’s legendary Northern Quarter, interesting museums, and unforgettable uni events.
During my time in Manchester I have become a very active person. I joined my local gym, which has a variety of fitness classes such as boot camp, yoga and boxercise – I’ve made lots of new friends here!
There are also park runs across the city, which anyone can join in on. These are free running events which let you track your progress online – a great way to keep fit and run off the glasses of white wine from the evening before.
What’s been your biggest challenge on the course?
Teaching practice was one of the most challenging aspects. I felt this was because you have to adapt to a new work environment quickly, plan and evaluate learning sessions, analyse children’s development and keep a work-life balance. However, once I got into the routine and organised my time well, the workload was manageable.
What’s been your most rewarding experience?
As well as being the most challenging, teaching practice was also the most rewarding part of the course. I learnt new strategies and techniques and put them into practice – consequently the children met their targets. The teaching practice gave me a true idea how a Teacher of the Deaf works on a day to day basis and what the job entails.
What have you learnt about yourself?
I believe I have grown as a person on the course – it has taught me to be a more active listener. I listen to understand now, as opposed to listening just to answer. I listen to what someone does not say as well as what they do say.
What is your key piece of advice?
The one piece of advice I would give to anyone doing this course is to be organised and to use your time wisely. The MSc/PGDip in Deaf Education is designed in a way to develop each student as a professional, so it’s important to take advantage of this.
Have that work-life balance, but use the work time effectively so that you can complete assignments to the best of your ability. It also ensures that you make the most out of your time on the course; after all, it is only a short time in comparison to the rest of your life!
With one year to go, what would you like to do after you’ve graduated?
I would like to be working as a Teacher of the Deaf quite soon after I qualify. However, the course has also opened doors that may lead abroad for me. My tutors have given me lots of information on charities that work abroad with deaf children. As a volunteer, I now have opportunities to work in places such as Africa, to improve the lives of deaf children there.