On the first day…

So here’s one of the presentations our Group produced yesterday. It coherently depicts the stresses faced by a PGCE student.

Our brief was to ‘Give a presentation highlighting one of the stresses you’ve encountered during the course’. This group shoe-horned 12 in; job done.


It’s beginning to look a LOT like….

It's beginning to look a LOT like....

Yes we know it is November but today was our last day in Faculty until February so we had our Christmas celebrations early. It was a brilliant day with all sorts of festivities including lots of food, Cava, Christmas jumpers, presentations and songs.

Monday brings the start of Placement 1b so it was good to blow off some steam. The photo is of Group 7, the best Primary PGCE Group of them all – everyone really committed to the festive theme and, hopefully, all had an enjoyable day!

“It’s Bibally”…

“It’s Bibally”

We had a school visit today.  Ironically the best comment of the day came from one of my fellow PGCE students.

When asked where her name came from she replied: “I don’t really know.  It’s Bibally I think.”  An awkward pause followed, before someone else helpfully offered….”You mean Biblical right?”

The future teachers of this country ladies and gentlemen.

Fractions, fractions, fractions…

So today we were in Faculty (boo) and it was a Maths day (double boo) and we were looking at fractions which wasn’t as bad as I anticipated!  We’d had a staff meeting at school last week on this very topic so I already felt quite knowledgeable!  We tried out some pretty nifty tricks to help us out.  

In the photo below you can see on the left a series of squares which are coloured in.  Our task was to colour in exactly half of the 9 squares.  Our tutor had done this with her Y6 class already so the pressure was on us to come up with new and unique ways of shading half of a shape.  The idea is to encourage children to see half as an idea rather than a fixed shape or amount.  On the right you can see a circle; it’s much more exciting in the flesh!  Basically you slot two circles together and can rotate them so you could have half yellow, half green or three quarters green, one quarter yellow.  It’s really just like magic….



Then we were set a challenge, and it was hard!  We had to cut join some squares together so that ‘like’ fractions were next to each other.  It was a bit like dominoes or tri-onimos if you’ve ever played it.  It certainly tested our brain cells but myself and a parter did achieve it…it only took 20 minutes or so!Image

So that was Maths.  Last thing on today’s agenda was to meet our mentor for our 1b placement.  We already know her of course as we are going back to the same school as 1a but it was brilliant to hear her tell us about each member of the Y4 class.  There are 7 children highlighted as SEN (special educational needs), which is quite a lot out of 29.  Apparently they are quite a rowdy class, very nice, just eligible to win a contest involving ‘Who could talk for Britain?’.  I really can’t wait to get into the classroom again though.  I think I’m ready for a more challenging class (I know, I know, I’ll regret that later…….)!

Hello there!

I’ve recently been made aware that my blog has just been shared on the fantastic ‘York Students in Schools’ facebook page; thank you for popping along to have a look.  Hopefully nothing on here is putting you off wanting to teach – I’m just trying to give a realistic view of what goes on during a PGCE course.  I will say (shameless plug) that, if you’re at the University of York and want to teach, then a YSIS placement is such good preparation and I couldn’t recommend it more highly!

Anyway, enough of that, this week we are back in Faculty (Uni) which, as regular readers will know, I am not a fan of.  The classroom is where I’m at my best.  Today involved a series of terrifying lectures on what is expected from us on our 1b placements which will be 8 weeks long, two weeks before Christmas and six after.  It all seemed frightening when they were telling us what we need to do but currently I work on the philosophy that you need to take one week at a time.  It’s worked so far!

In amongst this hard-line talk were some interim moments of, what I like to call, ‘non-sensical fluff’.  I know that meditation is for some people, and I am in no way being derogatory towards it but, personally, it’s just too…..fluffy.  I’m all for chilling out to fight stress, but if you make me close my eyes in the middle of a lecture hall and breathe deeply then all that’s going to happen is that I will get the giggles.  Combined with a cold it just ain’t pretty…..


I can’t believe it’s all over!

That’s it; Placement 1a is complete and I am absolutely distraught!  Goodness knows how I’ll be when I have to leave a class that I’ve taught for a whole year – I might not cope at all.  

Year 2 have been absolutely fantastic; I was concerned at first that they would be as incapable (I’m sorry to say that) as Year 1 but, to my delight and surprise, they were extremely able and, much to my utter joy, independent.  Don’t get me wrong, every thing has to be put out for them, and everything has to be done in small steps otherwise they’ll get confused, but if you ask a question you will get an answer (though, granted, it’s not always the answer you were expecting).  The school have also been fantastic and I’m delighted that I’m only away from there for one week before I return for part 1b of my placements.  Next time however I will be with Year 4, that’s right, I’m moving to the Juniors!  I’m quite excited to move to the KS2 part of the school as the rooms are all clustered around a shared corridor so things are a bit more sociable; the KS1 classrooms tend to be dead-ends in their own right.

Hopefully the Year 4 class will be as sympathetic and gentle as the Year 2s were – fingers crossed!

I could see; it was beautiful.

Today I cycled home in the daylight.  That’s right, no bike lights, no reflective jacket over my rucksack, no peering through the gloom; I whizzed home like a bullet train!  The reason for my early arrival home this afternoon was that we had a Faculty school visit today, by which I mean Group 7 PGCE students visited a primary school heralded as being the best for P.E. in the country.  

I will hand it to them, the sporting achievements and way that they teach P.E. and encourage participation is fantastic, especially considering that it is not a big school and they do not have fancy playing fields.  In fact, their school grounds are quite small compared to other primary schools that I’ve seen.  We saw Y3/4 and Y5/6 complete the same P.E. level, but obviously Y5/6 were at a higher level.  The children demonstrated solid football, netball and hockey skills, and many were beginning to develop the rules of Rugby. I feel I would have enjoyed the visit a lot more had it been held during summer (it was extremely cold!),  but the low temperature did encourage me to get involved.  

I must admit, I do find it baffling when other PGCE students just stand around chatting and not taking part; surely we are all there because we want to teach and advance the children’s skills?  Ah well, each to their own.

The Problem of TV on education.

Watch this video and listen to the vocabulary used.

Now go and find a clip of the Teletubbies.

Is it any wonder that modern-day children are poor at spelling and speaking?

Gone in a flash!

So sucking up to the staff by bringing in cake proved successful!  They all went down a treat, so much so that I didn’t get a piece (sigh), but I did score some brownie points (excuse the pun).

The day went well; I taught a third of the class how to log on to their emails.  They all understood the learning, the problem was mouse control!  It was quite challenging for them to click on the correct ‘button’ as they were very shaky with their pointers.  However they did enjoy sending emails to one another, despite having to persevere at finding the correct letter on the keyboard!

Tomorrow I teach maths to the whole class, and I repeat my computing lesson with another group; all the fun!

Feed the Staff!

Feed the Staff!

As next week is the last week of our ‘Part 1a’ placement, I thought I’d bake something to put in the staff room by way of saying thank you.

All the staff have been so welcoming and interested in what we are doing that we wanted to thank them, and giving everyone a little boost at break or lunch time seemed as good a plan as any! We will be returning to the school again at the start of December, but it can’t hurt to show that we’re grateful for all of their help!