Farewell!

Right, the time has now come to finish this blog.  My PGCE year is officially over and I have achieved QTS status.  I start work from Monday as a Year 2 teacher and am anticipating another rollercoaster of a year to come.  

Thank you for reading this and I hope it’s not been too depressing to read; teaching is hard work but it’s totally worth it!

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First of many

Today I’m attending my first staff meeting at my job school. Apparently it’s going to be about our NQT year so hopefully it’ll make everything clear…..fingers crossed!

Shocker!

I know I’ve been rather silent over the past couple of days but it’s all been rather hectic!  I went to school on Monday, then went home to G-town for a good night’s sleep before my interview (on Tuesday).

The interview was certainly an experience, and one of the longest days of my life!  I had to be at school for 8.20am.  At 8.30 we were given our ‘task list’ for the day.  There were 10 of us there, all applying for three (turns out to be four-five) NQT positions at the school.  Most appeared to be doing BAs in education, so a bit more experience than us on a PGCE!  It transpired to be less of a list and more of a very loose timetable!  I was scheduled to teach my lesson “using a book as a stimulus to “make children fly”” at 9.35; so I did.

I was teaching a mixed ability Year 2 class, only seventeen children in total, but that was more than enough!  As a trainee teacher it was quite intimidating walking into a room of strange children and trying to teach them something.  The lesson was slightly chaotic.  One child lost a tooth (of natural causes, nothing to do with me), another had a little bit of a strop, but largely the rest of them were pretty focused.  It was only half an hour and I just about managed to cram the learning objective, main activity, and plenary in to the lesson.  I was observed by the two headteachers (it’s an infant and junior federation) which was quite unnerving – they must practice their poker faces because boy were they not giving anything away.

I then had an hours gap before I had to do the ‘writing section’; this turned out to be a Year 6 SPAG test (spelling, punctuation and grammar) which I clearly did ok on.  We also had to ‘level’ a piece of work.  To my surprise I levelled it correctly. 

We then had lunch served to us.  At this point we were under the impression some would be sent home whilst others stayed to interview.  Turns out we all got through to round 2!  

We were interviewed in pairs and asked a number of rather rigorous questions!  We were asked to evaluate our lessons and to say why we levelled the work the way we did.  We then met with some kids from the school council and fielded those questions (much more relaxed than the interview, man that was scary).  We were then sent home and informed we’d be told Wednesday (today) whether we had the job.

I then caught a number of trains back to my Uni home ready for school this morning.

I received the phone call at 4.30pm.  They offered me a job.

 

And I accepted.

Faculty Frustration

Now, I know that I am on the job-hunt at the moment, but today Faculty sent an extremely unhelpful email.  Considering the amount of stress we are all already under, they sent an email stating that:-

Dear Trainees,

We thought it would be good for you to hear that one of the trainees on your course has received a job offer from one of our partnership schools.

Well, good for the trainee, but there was no need to send that email.  They keep telling us that there is no need to rush for jobs (after all, we’re at the number 1 training institute for PGCE students in the country), so why send that email?  It’s just struck a nerve and marred an otherwise sterling school day!

So let’s focus on that positive now that my personal issues are out of the way!  Maths went surprisingly well today, although I was appalled at the Y4’s knowledge of their times tables, as was my mentor (their normal class teacher).  So tomorrow’s lesson is going to be a very dull drilling of our times tables from 1-12!!  The lesson went well.  I did my first maths carousel with Y4 and it worked well; it was nice to have small groups to work with at a time, especially after placing them in groups according to how well they did during yesterday’s lesson.

Tomorrow’s maths is observed by the school coordinator who just so happens to be the Deputy Headteacher.  Fingers crossed it’ll go ok.  She’s only ever taught in KS1 so KS2 isn’t her area of speciality!

Dived in head first.

I’ve just submitted my application to the Suffolk County NQT Pool.  *Gulp*

Numbing the pain…

…of actually thinking about the second 6000-word-Masters-Level-Assignment-On-Pupils-Perspectives by looking for a job.

Both tasks suck as much as the other.

“Our task was to roll the Peach into the sea.”

We had a school visit today, the purpose of which was to observe a school with a really creative cross-curricular approach, as well as to find out more about formative assessment in action.  It was a really good visit, and a very inspirational school, even more so as an NQT who survived the course last year is teaching there and was able to offer some much valued advice!

The school is clearly dedicated to ensuring that children are confident, self-assessing learners with a strong growth mindset towards learning.  No child should be fearful or embarrassed of their level, but should instead use it as a way of challenging and enabling themselves to become better learners.  The displays were extremely visual, and a school tour by Year 6 showed that he children really engage and remember with the visual, interactive topic work.  Topics or projects are taught half-termly and really hook the class in; they can be based on a book, an enterprise topic or can be a ‘Mantel of the Expert’, the latter of which is extremely popular.  Children are put in the role of, for example, NASA engineers; they are given a challenge and through D&T, ICT, Science, English etc. they build rockets, write instructions, work out analysis for conditions on another planet – all with the end result of an interactive activity; they also make personal ‘log’ books of their work so they have a nice topic book to take home and to show their learning – something to be proud of.

The Deputy Headteacher was a fan of Shirley Clarke’s formative assessment strategy, and stressed the need for KS1 infant children to have visual marks that they have devised so that they can quickly and easily see what they have done right and what they need to remember in future work; further up the school this can still be incorporated but with the expectation that children can also read their lesson objectives and teacher comments.

The KS2 teachers use Challenge and Choice (Mild, Medium, Spicy) for their classes – much like is done at my placement school.  The different challenges are on the board, along with the level they achieve (i.e. 2c-3a).  Children can then mark their own work and clearly see the targets and specifics of the task in order to reach the correct levels.  The school feels children really must know what is happening when they are marked and shouldn’t be unrealistic but should themselves know where they need to go and try their hardest to get there.

Overall it was a fantastic visit, but I really can’t wait to go back to our school which starts with a Pirate Themed Fancy Dress Day!  Huzzah!!