Spanish-born trainee teacher Mercedes Donate Sarmiento explains why she's chosen to study for a PGCE Secondary Modern Foreign Languages at London Met – and what she's most passionate about.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background, and what brought you to London Met in particular?
I have been living in London for 14 years, and even though my background is in telecommunication engineering, here I have learned that I can reinvent myself many times. I decided now that I want to study for a PGCE, and I chose London Met because it’s in my local area – I know people that have studied here in the past, and they recommended it to me. Once I started to search for information, I really resonated with the ethos that London Met has.
What made you want to study in London?
After many years of teaching as a private tutor, I wanted to establish myself as a teacher, and the best way to do that was by studying for the PGCE to become a qualified teacher.
What's your favourite part of the course so far and why?
Although I have felt a bit overwhelmed by the amount of information, I have found the lessons at the University really interesting, and I am really getting engaged with the learning.
What's been most challenging about being a student?
I have found it very challenging to keep different platforms under control for my work. Additionally, trying to stay up-to-date has been very difficult.
How have you found the placement experience so far?
For the past three weeks, I have been at the school where I am completing my first placement. This is a crucial part of my training, and I am very satisfied with the experience so far. The school, in partnership with London Met, is guiding me effectively to make the most of this experience.
How have you found the professors / teachers?
I think they are very well prepared, and they teach us with a great understanding of the subjects. On a personal level, they have shown themselves to be approachable and caring professionals.
What drives you?
I have a passion for education, and through my experience working with children, I have realised my dedication to making a positive impact on students' lives. I am eager to immerse myself in the challenges and rewards of becoming a teacher. I am ready to embrace every opportunity to enhance my pedagogical skills and contribute to shaping future generations. I am committed to becoming an understanding, devoted and effective teacher.
What are you most proud of in your life so far?
Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of working in various roles across different sectors, which has allowed me to develop a diverse skill set and gain valuable experiences. I am very proud to have the resilience and flexibility necessary to do so. Most importantly, I’m proud that I have made choices that were best for me at each moment.
Do you have a favourite place within the University and why?
I am very new to the University; however, I have been discovering lots of different places that suit me for various circumstances. There are spaces where I can study alone or in a group, as well as places where I can feel comfortable and chill out. I found the University to be very well equipped, since I will be spending many hours there.
Have you used any of the services at London Met – and if so, how helpful have they been?
I have used the SMAA (Student Money and Accommodation Advice), and they have been very helpful.
Tell us a little bit about your interests outside of uni and why they are important to you.
Outside of university, I have a small family to whom I will dedicate the little free time that this intense year will leave me. We love traveling, and I would love to find some time for it.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important to me. I feel very good when I do yoga and swimming, although I'll need to make an effort to find the time for them.
Additionally, reading for pleasure is one of my favourite hobbies.
What's your plan when you graduate, and how do you think London Met will help you succeed in this?
My plan is to start my career as a teacher in a secondary school. I hope that London Met gives me advice on how to successfully find a job and orients me to find something appropriate for me.
Find out more about teaching courses at London Met.
"I have a passion for education, and through my experience working with children, I have realised my dedication to making a positive impact on students' lives. I am eager to immerse myself in the challenges and rewards of becoming a teacher."