Laura WilkinsLaura Wilkins

BA Japanese Studies and History graduate
Current job: History Teacher

What is your current job and what does it involve?
I am a history teacher and assistant head of house at a challenging secondary school in west London. I started working here while undertaking the Teach First leadership development programme (2013-2015) gaining my PGCE and fully qualified teacher status.

My job involves:
• preparing and delivering lessons to a range of classes of different ages and abilities;
• marking work, giving appropriate feedback and maintaining records of pupils' progress and development;
• researching new topic areas, maintaining up-to-date subject knowledge, and devising and writing new curriculum materials;
• preparing pupils for qualifications and external examinations;
• managing pupil behaviour in the classroom and on school premises, and applying appropriate and effective measures in cases of misbehaviour;
• undertaking pastoral duties, such as taking on the role of form tutor, and supporting pupils on an individual basis through academic or personal difficulties;
• undergoing regular observations and participating in regular in-service training (INSET) as part of continuing professional development (CPD)

Do you use the knowledge and skills you gained from your studies in your job?
I use a great deal of my history knowledge in my day to day job, as well as many of the skills I gained at university such as presentation skills, researching, and managing time effectively. I currently do not use my Japanese within my job, but do run a small Japanese club in the autumn term and privately tutor one other pupil at the moment.

Do you language skills play an important role in your job?
Not at the moment, though I hope to introduce a Japanese class onto the curriculum at some point in my career.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Completing the Teach First programme has been a real highlight as well as seeing my students on results day, happy with their results and able to continue on in education.

Why did you choose to Study Japanese Studies at Sheffield?
I was interested very much in Japanese literature and really enjoyed the few lessons I had had in the subject at sixth form, I chose to continue studying it and combine it with History, to give myself a diverse degree so that I could develop a number of skills while at university.

What are your favourite memories of studying at Sheffield?
Grammar lessons with Nagai Sensei, learning about Japanese international relations with Glenn Hook and the Weimar Republic with Benjamin Zeimann, I miss university much more than I thought I would.