As part of my community placement in year 12, I provided Mathematics support for students with language difficulties. As I am trilingual, it was easy for students to communicate with me and get the best support. Similarly a work experience at a warehouse in year 11 gave me a great opportunity to work with people from different backgrounds. Through these placements, I have improved my communication skills, confidence, teamwork and independent working skills. Recently I have become a prefect and have joined the Young Enterprise Group. I am looking forward to taking on the responsibilities involved. In addition, I have participated in the Duke of Edinburgh ‘Silver’ awards, which was very challenging. I worked as part of a team, which helped me to build up my interpersonal and time management skills. I believe the skills I have gained will be extremely useful at university to help me succeed.
In America the rise of PhD teachers’ unions reflects the breakdown of an implicit contract between universities and PhD students: crummy pay now for a good academic job later. Student teachers in public universities such as the University of Wisconsin-Madison formed unions as early as the 1960s, but the pace of unionisation has increased recently. Unions are now spreading to private universities; though Yale and Cornell, where university administrators and some faculty argue that PhD students who teach are not workers but apprentices, have resisted union drives. In 2002 New York University was the first private university to recognise a PhD teachers’ union, but stopped negotiating with it three years later.