Thursday, 29 September 2011

The end of the first bad week

They always said teaching would be full of highs and lows and this week would definitely be one of those lows.
I have felt ill all week, not slept properly and struggled to keep up the front you need to put on infront of the class and other teachers.
But I am feeling better today, I have a long weekend to recover and I am determined to get back to the highs next week.
It is not through the work, bad children, or my own lack of effort that has led to it being a bad week but it is because of illness.
For this reason I am not worried and am just putting it behind me ready to start again next week.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Can a maths starter be to fun?

I always thought it would be trying to make a maths starter interesting that would be the problem but today I found myself in the unusual position of getting the children too excited at the beginning of the lesson.
I opted for a Who Wants to be a Millionaire style maths quiz to ease the children's brains into action but it turned on to a full on celebration when they reached the million pounds.
They were physically jumping off the carpet when they got the final question correct and all I could think was how sorry I was for my teacher who had to calm them down and do the rest of the lesson.
Luckily she managed to do is gifted when it comes to a calm classroom and managed to do it perfectly but I'm not sure I would have been able to get the same response.
One thing is for sure, I will not be repeating the game during my teaching practice!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Is teaching just one long fight against illness?

I am now in the sixth day of feeling awful and it seems that teaching is just one long fight against illness.
Last week it was a bad throat, stomach and generally feeling sick, this week it is a bunged up head which just saps all energy out of me and it just doesn't seem to be getting better.
Well apart from Saturday where I felt fine, which makes me think that I am going through a double dose of illness just to rub salt into my wounds.
At school it isn't too bad because I am in the moment and fight through it, but as soon as I get home I just feel drained and ready for bed.
Trouble is the work doesn't stop so I still need to fight my way through planning for the next day and reading assignments before the holy grail of going to sleep.
Lets hope this doesn't last much longer!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Lesson accomplished

Just completed my first ever whole class lesson and it feels great! The kids did exactly what I wanted them to do and seemed to even enjoy the lesson which was definitely an added bonus! Even if it was just a few French words I was teaching, it was a start and one I can build upon. I even had to deal with the added drama of my observer having to leave the room to be sick, but when Inwas so engrossed in teaching it hardly had an affect. The last two days have definitely been hard but so rewarding, I feel so much more confident having led the class and am ready for more next week.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Still afloat in the deep end

Last night all my worries centred around one 15 minute slot of French I had to teach tomorrow but that was deemed instantly irrelevant this morning when I got the dreaded message that my class teacher would be off sick.
With no supply it meant I was thrown right in the deep end and had to organise the class for the whole day.
Luckily I was given a cover teacher to lead the three main sessions but registration, guided reading, handwriting and home time I was in charge and it was scary!
At the same time it was really enjoyable and has given me instant confidence in leading the class.
For a first day the discipline was pretty good and the class did as I wanted them (although some needed a few reminders).
For the first time I now feel like a real teacher with real responsibilities, which is great and although I didn't do everything perfect, I coped and have a strong foundation to build upon.
The only problem now is I am feeling ill, with what I would think is the illness that kept the class teacher off all day.
I just pray I can fight it off and go into school tomorrow.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Bonjour, I think ...

The time has come for me to plan and take my first whole class session and what better way to do it than with a lesson of French - a language I do not speak.
Talk about throwing me in the deep end!
The saving grace is that it is only about a 10-15 minute lesson and bonjour (the only word I actually know) is one of the greetings that I need to teach.
Luckily I am told the class will be at the same level of myself so I don't have the worry of being outsmarted by the children but it I am sure it will be a tough challenge.
Although I have two days until the lesson, I have already thought and planned it and on paper it seems all will go smoothly.
But I will have to wait and see if this is the case in reality.

Friday, 16 September 2011

The joy of a weekend off

All the hard work earlier in the week has paid off because as of now I have a whole two and a half days off with no work to do.
After spending the evenings reading and getting a headstart on my assignment I have succesfully managed to get two weeks ahead of  schedule and so the reward is a weekend of luxury.
But not to rest on my laurels, I will be hard at work again on Monday evening to make sure my good start continues and hopefully push even further ahead so I can release my weekends to have a good time.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Application advice - the interview

I'm not going to lie, the interviews are daunting but I found them a lot better than previous job interviews. All my questions were related to teaching and so generally it was on topics I was comfortable on. What's more is they didn't put any trick questions in. From what I can remember, the types of questions I was asked were: How does your degree fit into teaching? What made you decide to choose teaching? Lots of people drop out of a pgce because of the workload, how do you think you will be able to cope? What topics were the teachers talking about in the staff room during your work experience? What are the current issues surround teaching? What age group would you prefer? What do you think your subject specialism will be? What did you work from your school experience?

Application advice - the cover letter

That time of year has come around again and so good luck to all those doing their application to get on a pgce next year. To help you out I thought I would give some tips from my experience when I was going through the whole process. Firstly, apply early! I was stupid enough to leave it until deadline day and create a nervous four month wait to find out if I had a place, whilst others on my course applied now and already had a place by the time I submitted my form. As for the actual letter, I found that the main thing moderators wanted was to hear about your school based experience and how you could take what you learnt to help you next year. Especially on the interview, they were far more interested in the two weeks classroom experience I had, rather than the three years of outer class experience I had. The other Important aspect was how your degree subject fits into the pgce and what you have done during your time at university that shows you want to become a teacher. But remember the key point is to write it well, I spent over a week perfecting mine, which paid off in the end. Hundreds of people apply for each post so make sure your application looks like time has been spent on it. If you have any further questions about my experience I will be happy to help.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Dare I say it - the work is fun

Since starting my course two weeks ago there has rarely been a night without work but as I look back, I don't think there has been a single moment where I was bored.
It is completely different to studying for a degree as everything seems to be relevant and highly useful for the job.
No longer is it learning for the sake of getting a degree, it is learning to be the best teacher you can and if that means reading book after book of QTS standards then so be it.
I always find my mind wondering to how I can use this new found knowledge into my teaching and  that can only be a good thing.
Add this to the enjoyment and variation of being in class and a PGCE doesn't look quite so daunting after all.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Settling in with more responsibilities

After a week of settling into the school it is nice to be given an increased amount of responsibility and now I am leading groups and the class in small activities.
Today saw me lead my first guided reading session which was great (I think) and I have already led the class story and morning work.
Being given the responsibility always gives me that added bit of confidence, somehow I seem to thrive when I am in charge.
I feel like it is my lesson so I can stamp my authority onto it and get misbehaving children back into line, whereas when observing, it feels somewhat like interrupting the class teacher if you spot a pupil talking or not listening.
I'm sure they don't mind but confidence to discipline away from my lessons is definitely something I need to work on.

Monday, 12 September 2011

The challenge of differentiation

It has been drilled into every session we have had that differentiation in classroom lessons is so important but until today I didn't see quite how hard that can be.
It didn't occur to me that the difference in ability could be so vast in one class, which has for the most part had the same school experience as everybody else.
There is some people in the class who can barely string a sentence together, whilst others are forming exciting sentences that amaze me when I see them.
It is almost like making a lesson which includes a standard Year 1 child, whilst at the same time including a standard Year 6 child.
Making three different worksheets is one thing but making it so they all learn every lesson is perhaps going to be the hardest thing to achieve this year.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

BIg tip - listen to the Every Child Matters lecture

It was late in the day and my brain had already been overloaded with information so when it came to the Every Child Matters lecture I just switched off, thinking it wouldn't be too influential.
Big mistake!
Near enough every piece of work has some reference to the document and so I am now having to do the added work of reading through the whole document to catch up.
It might not be too long but it takes the time to read and remember it, which is much harder than just listening in a lecture, where the information somehow is retained longer.
So my Sunday evening is going to consist of hard work that I could have got away with.
Trust me, that is not a good feeling, especially when free time is so valuable on a course like this.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

One study day just isn't enough

Thursday night seemed brilliant, I had a whole study day to do all my work and have a nice relaxing weekend.
But that dream lasted all of 24 hours, until Friday night came and there was still so much work to do.
So my weekend is fast turning into two days of work and it is only week one.
The way my course is set up is the work is split into 39 weeks, I am just praying they have split it evenly and not let us begin slowly because if that is the case, it will be a very hard year to come!
It's not all bad though, I made time to watch England in the rugby world cup and have put aside this evening to watch Andy Murray so I do get some break :)

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Three day weekend :)

The great thing about doing a SCITT course is you get one reading day a week where you are not at school, meaning a three day weekend :)
This I have always believed is what it is meant to be (four days work, three days rest) but this is the first time it has actually come true.
Although the reality is that with the amount of work we have to do already it will not be a restful three days.
I already have an assignment to do and lots of reading so that will wipe tomorrow out but there is something quite refreshing about not having to travel into work.

Confidence grows ... again

I have loved the first two days of having the children in as it is so good to feel your confidence grow all the time.
The first day I was in my shell, the second inset I got better and then to my surprise it continued to grow when the children came in.
Right up to the final minutes I was so nervous about looking after the class, but before I knew it I had 25 kids in front of me and I had to entertain them.
That was the best thing that could have happened as straight away they knew who I was. 
There was obviously hard times in the last couple of days where children haven't done what I have said but that has got less and I seem to have more authority now.
It all finished with me reading out the class book today and every kid was engrossed with the story. It was a great feeling to see them all listening.
Of course I have been helped out by a brilliant mentor teacher who has kept on top of them and is already proving an inspiration of ideas.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The kids are brilliant :)

What a shock my class were, on the first day they have been absolutely brilliant. I'm not sure if it is just because it is the first day or whether they are just a quiet class but there was no problems whatsoever.
One child was slightly misbehaved and looks like they could cause problems but my first impression is it something that with discipline can be quashed quite well.
The boys in particular are so enthusiastic and there is a table of football-loving high achievers which I think I will get on with quite well.
My duties were mainly just helping the children out with the work and that was a god introduction for me. Hopefully I will carry that on this week to build up my confidence and then be let loose with a bigger challenge when I am ready for it next week.
But the day obviously doesn't finish at 3.30 so straight after school I completed my maths audit (having already spend four hours or more on an English one) and now I am about to start the science one.
Hopefully this will be finished over the weekend and I will be able to devote all of next week to my first assignment (yes we have already got assessed work to do!)

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

A brilliant second day

Just finished day two in school and what a difference it made.
I am now so much more confident around the teachers and in school and am now really looking forward to meeting the class.
Yesterday the prospect of being confident in front of the kids seemed a daunting prospect but now I think it will be fine.
I am told that tomorrow will consist of me mainly helping out and maybe reading a story or something like that so should be a nice introduction.

Monday, 5 September 2011

First day

So the first day is over and I am pleased to report that I survived!
In fact I would probably go as far as saying it was fairly easy, although it was an INSET day so the real challenge hasn't exactly begun.
The whole day was about learning new assessment techniques, which although useful, will not be of great relevance to me this year.
But what was good was to see the staff, it is a big school so lots of people to get to know but there was a great atmosphere which makes me think working here is going to be full of fun :D
Now just role on tomorrow to bring my confidence up in school before the term really begins on Wednesday.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

It all begins tomorrow ...

Well the introduction period is over and the real thing starts tomorrow with the first day of term!
Luckily I will be eased into the school environment with two inset days but that doesn't stop me from being nervous, after all this is the place where I will be spending the entire academic year.
I am sure it will bring some highs and some lows but even now I still don't quite know what is in store for me over the next 12 months.
One thing is for sure though, I am as prepared as possible for the day.
We were given work to do from the university conference and I am happy to say I have done it all and even a bit extra.
Our course is split into different weeks and we are given set tasks to do each week.
To start with week one and two are grouped together and so I thought I would take the chance to get a head start and do the entire reading for the next two weeks already, lets just hope this pays off!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Rested and raring to go

What a difference a holiday makes! Just four days away and I am completely rested and ready for the new term.
I admit this feeling will probably last until precisely 9.15 on my first morning, but for now it seems time well spent.
I have timed it so I have two days to complete all the work needed before the start of term, which I think will be more than enough.
The most important work I have is a full English test with word meanings, phonemes etc and after completing 10 pages I am left with the question, why are they making us fill out this pointless form?
I am not ashamed that I have enlisted the help of my mum (who is English co-ordinator at a different primary school) as her knowledge has really helped me out.
But just to back up my point of how pathetic these questions are, after more than 20 years of teaching experience, she has not used about 75 per cent of what I am having to research. 
What's more is she hasn't even heard of most of the terms.
I wish the time could be used more effectively to learn English that I am actually going to use, but if my course wants me to do this form, I will do this form.