Hannah explains what inspired her to apply to teach RE.

Hannah LesterWhen deciding on my second year module choices, the Religious Education placement module was my first solid choice. My enthusiasm for learning about different religions and ways of life stemmed from my secondary school RE classes, so being given the opportunity to see how other schools were handling the teaching of my most cherished subject was an opportunity I could not turn down.

This module, which consisted of an intense two weeks of daily lectures covering government legislation, the history of the subject and methodologies of teaching just to name a few, was by far the most rewarding module of my undergraduate study. We had to consider what we thought the aims of RE were. This was hard, because there is a lot of pressure on the subject to achieve many things – from social cohesion to providing for spiritual development. We had to think about what kind of RE teacher we would like to be in the future, and what our values would be. The three-week placement in a secondary school consisted of observing classes, which ranged in ability and age. This time was helpful as I was able to speak to specialist teachers who exhibited exuberant passion for a subject close to my heart. I could see how some of the issues we’d considered in lectures and seminars were part of the day-today decisions made by teachers. Hearing them talk about the challenges that they face being a teacher of religions, ethics and philosophy of religion, but still committing 100% of their effort to teaching their students was moving, and it affirmed my desire to undertake a career in education.

The importance of teaching Religious Education has increased dramatically over recent years, as global events sadly show. Being able to see the passion within RE departments regardless of negative funding and curriculum space was inspiring. The time spent both on my placement and in lectures was easily the most challenging weeks of my second year at university, but it was also the most gratifying experience of my university life. I feel well prepared for the PGCE I hope to take next year. Although it feels like it’s all happening quite quickly, I’m also excited at the prospect of becoming a teacher. I really hope to make a difference.

Hannah Lester
3rd Year Religious Studies Undergraduate
University of Chester