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Fashion turns to passion

For any trainee, stepping out in front of a roomful of pupils and taking charge is a pulse-quickening prospect. Anthea Davey offers advice, and PGCE students and tutors offer more

The world of couture was too short-termist for Ruth Ortiz, above, who finds relationships in teaching are "heaven"

"I began the course in January 2003 and will finish in February 2004. I finished my first 10-week teaching block at a girls' comprehensive in London in September and my next is at a mixed comprehensive in November.

You can take up to two years to complete the modular course as it's flexible. The other advantage has been seeing schools at different times of the year, for example, exam-time in January, and crux time in September, when seeing how a mind-set can be created at the beginning of the year. And how pupils 'try it on' with all new teachers, not just student teachers.

Before I started, I worried about being asked a question and not knowing the answer. When it happened, I said well done to the child for thinking of it. I'm happier about that kind of thing and praise students when they think of things I haven't.

I used to work in fashion and found the challenges and rewards short-term.

Teaching offers a lot more as you're learning all the time. I've worked in the City and in terms of relationships, this is heaven. I've found the teachers I've worked with so nurturing and caring.

I have an interactive approach and like going round the class to talk to pupils and differentiate the work individually. I know I need to do it from the front, too - it's acting, really.

My advice for anyone about to start their first placement is plan, plan, plan. That's one solid thing you can cling to if the seas get stormy. I'd also say not to worry - if you really want to do it, you can, and there's a lot of support.

Ruth, 30, is doing a modular PGCE in secondary (design and technology) at Goldsmiths College, London

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