The role of ‘Educational Psychologist’ is an elusive one! As a trainee, when people ask what I do, I sometimes have to pause for a second before answering. The truth is, the job is so¬†varied that it is hard to give a straight answer! I thought I’d give a little snapshot into life so far as a Trainee Educational Psychologist (TEP) to offer some insight for those who are interested in applying to the doctorate, or are just curious about what it is we actually do! For context, I am a Year 1 Trainee.

*Note – all university courses differ in terms of timetables, placements etc. University courses can change their timetable each year, too, so this should be read for enjoyment purposes and is not specific advice or information regarding the course*

Day 1

6:10 – My alarm goes off – I live 1 hour and 7 minutes from my university, but this drive normally takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes with traffic. I get ready, pack my bag (which includes my laptop, notebook, pens, and ALL the snacks for a day of stretching my brain thoroughly!).

7:00 – I start my drive. I like to listen to podcasts and audiobooks on the journey, sometimes psychology-related, sometimes not! There is a fantastic EP-related podcast called Agents of Hope which I recommend!

8:30 – I walk to the library. Here I download my seminars for the day onto my laptop, complete any essential pre-reading, and respond to any emails / complete other admin-related tasks. I also eat my overnight oats 😋

9:30 – Seminar 1. Our seminars are usually presented by our academic tutors, but we sometimes have guest speakers such as Educational Psychologists, paediatricians, and teachers. Our seminars are a mixture of lecture-style, group work, and completing problem-based learning (PBL) tasks which involve self-directed work and then a presentation of our findings to the group.

12:30 – Lunch! I normally like to take a walk with my lunch to get out of the classroom for a little bit.

13:30 – Seminar 2. The afternoon is normally a seminar from a different module, but not always. Today I learnt about numeracy-related concerns in EP work.

16:30 – Home time!

Day 2

Today is placement day! This is a little closer to my house, so I arrived at the school for 9:15.

Today I:

  • completed a literacy assessment with a child
  • completed an observation of the child in lesson
  • had a brief consultation with staff

I then travelled back to the office to have supervision with my supervisor and a much needed cup of tea ☕️.

Day 3

Today is also a university day! I had the same get up and drive, but today we are only in for a morning seminar. This morning we learnt about executive functioning which was incredibly interesting.

13:00 – I had a tutorial with my tutor today. We discussed my upcoming research proposal. As you may know, at the end of your doctorate you will have produced a thesis on a research topic of your choice. I really value this tutorials as time to explore ideas and topics.

13:45 – Home time! When I arrive home, I will normally have a late lunch and then complete any casework tasks from placement.

Day 4

Another full day of university today!

6:00 – 8:30 – Get up, drive to university, get to the library!

8:30 – Today I met up with fellow course members to work on our PBL that we will be presenting this morning. Our PBL was based on a referral form – we had to research the concerns raised and create a presentation of our findings. After a quick coffee break, we were ready to present.

10:30 – Presentation of our PBLs.

12:30 – Lunch

13:30 – Seminar 2. Today we were learning about literacy-related concerns in EP work. This included looking at the different models for reading and completing some case-related questions as a pair.

16:30 – Library time! I stayed in the library to complete some assignment work, I stayed until 18:30 to beat the traffic!

18:30 – Home time, ready for a [hopefully] speedy drive home.

Day 5

Today is a study day where we are able to work from home if we wish. Today I worked on my assignment for most of the day, but also completed placement-related work such as writing up casework for my portfolio and emailing schools to arrange visits. I always end the week by writing out my plan for the following week and which tasks are a priority. The doctorate does have a large workload, so this is something that I constantly need to keep on top of, especially when juggling university work and placement work.

I hope this was a somewhat helpful insight to a typical week for me as a TEP! Let me know if you wold like to see more of this content, or have any questions 😊.