Meet the Mentor

This afternoon we met up with our Mentor for our first school placement.  I’m really happy to have such a lovely person to guide me through this first placement.  He told us that we shouldn’t panic, just throw ourselves in to the world of teaching.  He was fantastic, giving us loads of information and promising to email us lesson plans, information about the class, the school and about the subject levels of the 29 children in his Year 2 class!

I’m happy to know more about the class, children, school and expectations as these can vary dramatically between schools.  I’m all set for next week now (about from some paperwork) and I’m raring to get started….although I’m not particularly looking forward to the hour long commute….


Poetry at Teatime…

On Friday we had a visit by children’s poet Tony Mitton.  He was fantastic, demonstrating how you can make a simple poem come alive.  The session demonstrated the importance of literature, as well as (dare I say) phonics!  He would often leave the end of a sentence blank, and we could easily fill the space with the correct rhyming word.  It was a wonderful session and we were able to buy one of his books at cost price….and he signed it too! Image


Since Science Matters…

Since Science Matters...

So, today we had Science and here is the result!! We were given half an hour to create an object which resembled some part of the body, or a respiratory system. We went with the Circulatory System. All I can say is thank goodness for sellotape!!

Today was another interesting today. Science was fantastic, predominantly because our tutor told us that we are learning every day and that we “shouldn’t know it all” yet anyway! Horrah! The man spoke sense! We also had History today (one of our two lessons on History!) and Drama which was fantastic, leading us to create freeze frames of monsters, arrests, floods and a rather brutal depiction of WWII.

Anyway, it’s the evening now (wahoo), and Educating Yorkshire is on soon….

Mathematical Meltdown

A few months ago I did my Maths Skills Test, a compulsory test which all students must take in order to be accepted onto a PGCE course.  At the time I remember moaning that none of the algebraic formulas needed to complete the tests were in any way relevant to me becoming a Primary School Teacher; what an ignorant fool I was!

Maths this morning opened my eyes to the traumatic world of mathematics.  Despite the very gun-ho lecture approach that ‘you can do anything’, and that ‘maths can inspire’, the seminar which followed shattered my illusions of the ‘ease’ of Mathematics in a Primary School.  Right now I don’t think I will ever be able to inspire myself let alone give a child the confidence to walk into a secondary school and boldly declare that they have ‘the knowledge’ of Mathematics.  Anyway, next week I have to submit a Maths subject audit to highlight to my tutor the immense dread and horror that has saturated my very soul….

But that’s next week! in the long term it has now been confirmed that I have achieved the KS2 specialism I wanted, hooray!  I will, after this first placement at the giant Village School, be specialising in children aged 9-11.

The downside to this is that I really do need to know my Maths….

How many miles?

Today was dull, it consisted of many, many lectures.  They were instructive and intuitive, but three lectures + me + Monday morning = no.

Anyway, that was the day, the evening has been permeated with the discovery of our first School Placement location.  I’m 24 miles away from my house.  The school looks lovely but I’m with Year 2, again.  That’s not quite he KS2 class I hoped for but the school was rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted, has two form entry and is classed as a ‘Village School’ which should be interesting in contrast to the more urban situated schools I’ve had experience in.

Anyway, that experience doesn’t occur for another week and a half.

Maths however starts tomorrow.


Why I want to teach…..

Why I want to teach.....

My desire to teach is pretty much inherent in my genes. My Mummy was a Secondary school teacher, and my Gran was a Primary School Teacher. If I can be anything like them then I’ll know I’m doing it right.

“Just be prepared to make a fool of yourself.”

Yesterday was English day, by which I mean story day, by which I mean dramatic story and poetry day.  The lecture was, without a doubt, hilarious.  We had stories performed to us with props, sound effects and a bucket load of enthusiasm, followed by an English seminar involving puppets, chocolates and (on our table anyway) a poem about Voldemort and his regrets.

The afternoon introduced us to R.E..  I’ll say now that I’m an atheist, but who said you have to believe something to teach it?  Besides, R.E. in schools is about exploring more than your own thoughts and reactions to theism, it’s about reflecting on your feelings, on how others feel and react to situations.  Although, I’ll be honest, I don’t think I was entirely open to reflecting at 4.30 on a Friday afternoon when the Pub beckoned….

Anyway, to sum it up I’ve survived the week.

Just another 37 weeks to go…..

When it rains…..

…and you’re on your way to the first School Placement of your teacher training career, deal with it.

We went to a local school this afternoon which specialises in ICT – and when I say ‘specialises in ICT’, I mean it has over 80 laptops and 16 iPads for the children, and one laptop and one iPad for each member of staff; I mean that in 6 years the school has invested mega bucks in transforming and moving the 6 laptops and 7 rusty old computers into tools which can be applied to every lesson.  It was incredible, a huge jump from most primary schools I’ve seen where one ICT/Computing suite is considered a luxury!  

However, as with anything there are prizes and pitfalls to being so technologically advanced.  The use and confidence of the children in relation to ICT depends upon their background and what they have access to at home; technology inevitably will go wrong, and one teacher very calmly but with a notable tone of wisdom to her voice suggested that you “always have a backup plan”.  As the head-teacher stressed, finance is a big issue, as is the issue of how technologically confident and capable your staff are!  Similarly, you have to think about the area that each school wishes to, or indeed can, focus their attention on.  Some schools pride themselves on being Sporting Centres, because they have the space to do so, others focus on the performing arts because, similarly, they have the space in which to do so.

It was a truly fantastic school, one which I would love to be placed in, not only because of the friendliness of the staff, but also because it’s right next to the University – is it acceptable to be so lazy so early on?

Let the Drama begin….

…but not literally.  The day started off with a bit of confusion when our Drama teacher didn’t appear at 9am; after a puzzled 30 minutes of waiting, we collectively agreed that we were meant to be there and that maybe she’d got lost.  Unfortunately a personal matter meant that our Drama teacher wasn’t able to take us for our first double session so instead we got a double free.  I say ‘free’, there was lots to be done, but there was also coffee to be drunk.

The latter happened.

When the day finally began (13.30), we headed off for P.E..  It turns out it’s quite hard to put into words how to roll a ball, and even harder to put it into three ‘points’.  Anyway, nobody got hurt so all in all it went quite well!  

Computing was hilarious.  When a lesson starts with a youtube clip you know it can only go up from there!  Tomorrow we go to a school to look at their Computing sessions, it’s a half day trip where we observe the children – hopefully they can teach me a thing or two about IT and Computing, because Interactive Whiteboards terrify me, and school computer programmes are enough to make me run a mile….

Pairing Presentations with Puppets. Naturally.

Pairing Presentations with Puppets.  Naturally.

Group Presentations loomed and gloom quickly followed….until we all remembered we are on a Primary PGCE course; these weren’t going to be any old presentations!

Creativity was the key word of the day – we went on a Hobbit-inspired journey across campus, we reminisced about our Conker-War days, we saw the endless possibilities in a pile of trash, we saw a truly inspired mathematical door(!), and we added to the multitude of talent two curious, quizzical puppets and a cardboard cut-out of Darwin.

I’ll leave you to dwell on that….