Placement WK7 & 8: The rise and the fall

Week 7

The week of celebrations

The week of celebrations

This week was a week of ultimate highs. I was observed by my headteacher and given ‘good’ at the end, I was offered a job (although I felt unable to accept anything at this early stage. I have no clue what I want from a school yet!) and I was given a very good/outstanding by my visiting tutor! This week could not have possibly gone better.

I was terrified before my observation because I was teaching a Maths lesson. Maths and I have had a difficult relationship (to say the least), but luckily all went well on the day. A large part of this success is due to the level of support I’m receiving from my mentor, but at least it’s a step in the right direction. Placement two will be when I really find out if I know what I’m doing!

I know I was lucky to get the grade I did during my VT observation. It’s all a matter of opinion after all. I know this doesn’t in anyway guarantee success in my second observation so I can’t get complacent…I have to keep working!

I did however take an evening off to celebrate this success and catch up with friends. It was time well spent before being back on it (and spending a Saturday in the library…ugh)

Week 8

The feeling of placement coming to an end

The feeling of placement coming to an end

My success was short lived, and although week 8 wasn’t a bad week by any means (I’m consistently getting ‘good’ in my observations, and I’m on top of my evidencing, phew!) It is becoming harder and harder to maintain this pace as the weeks go on.

I absolutely love the class I’m working in, and the school have been very supportive, but it’s coming to a point now where I need placement to come to an end. Going back to uni and facing my assignment will feel like a holiday after this, and it’s one I desperately need…three weeks to go!

One fantastic thing I have taken from this week is the power of exploration and experience in learning. I knew this already in theory, but experiencing these wow moments with my class makes them all the more powerful. This week year 5 have been learning about scaling in maths and one of their IPC topics is space. The teacher had them convert the diameters of the planets from km to mm, on a scale of 1km = 1mm. We then made the planets out of paper so that we could see the solar system more accurately, and experience the size differences from a planet like jupiter in caparison to earth. It was engaging, hands on but more importantly it was as close to real life experience as those children may get. They were floored when we cut out one massive circle and compared it with the size of our tiny planet. This is definitely something I hope to do with my class in the future, and it just hits home about how important it is to make learning relevant to their every day life. Children can’t always get stuck in, but whenever possible its important.

Excitingly, this exercise brought up so many questions from the group, showing their engagement and curiosity. I like the idea of possibly having a wall of curiosity in my future classroom, where we can add those amazing, mind boggling questions we come up with, and then add an answer during the week, as we get time to look it up. Some of the questions I’ve had so far are:

“How long did it take to paint the Sistine Chapel?” “How much did it cost him in paint?”

“How do they know the diameter of a planet? How could they have measure it?”

“How do they get gravity inside a space ship?”

So many questions like this are just experiments and activities waiting to happen!

It’s hard to keep up the pace now, but I’m not giving up. I have a week and a half until my second and final VT observation. If I can just recreate the success of last week I’ll be ecstatic…We shall see!

 

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Placement wk6: Getting Back to Business

I survived the first week back on placement. Thankfully, I remembered everyone names and even how to teach (if you can call it that at this stage). It was a big relief to get back, actually. It’s hard being out of routine, especially when deadlines are looming. However now that I’m organised and back on track I’m feeling much more positive.

This week I taught my first science lesson, amongst other things. We’re now learning about forces, and I have the task of teaching the whole of this topic…something I’m feeling a little daunted by. We started with an introduction this week, looking at push, pull and friction. the plan was to hold a tug of war in the hall and look at how forces played a part in our game. The idea of taking 30 year 5 children in the hall and conducting a tug of war game sounded like a recipe for disaster, however the more I looked into it, the more excited I got knowing how much they would enjoy it.

I started to feel like I’d turned a corner in my premature teaching career. This was the first lesson I have ever actually been excited to teach. Up until now, nerves have dominated. I knew they would be so excited to carry out this activity, and that took over.

The first forces lesson was last thing on a Friday, so I was expecting disengaged children, tiredness and poor behaviour but I was pleasantly surprised. The children were engaged but most importantly, they seemed to understand the concept and could explain forces in terms of the tug of war. My mentor gave me some fantastic feedback, with ideas on how I could improve the differentiation element of the lesson. I left work that day feeling a real sense of achievement.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed teaching outside of the classroom. I expected to find it difficult and stressful, but it was great. The children were so excited, and I felt like they were much more productive because of that engagement level. I now cannot wait to teach more forces, and I’ve already seen a few experiments online that I would love to bring into my lesson (ahem…chopsticks and jelly).

Feeling like an almost teacher put me in a fantastic mood for the weekend, which was just what I needed as myself and some friends had planned to spend the day in the university library…yes all day, on a Saturday. Our assignment deadline is early next month, and leaving it to the last minute is not an option!

Although it’s hard giving up all your free time to work (even if it’s something you love doing) it’s much easier then panicking when you feel over whelmed.

This week coming I have my first lesson observation with my visiting tutor, and what will be my first ever lesson grade. I’m excited and terrified, but knowing the worst I’ll get is a requires improvement is somewhat comforting. It isn’t the grade I hope I’ll get, but at this stage it will just be a platform for improvement…Nothing to panic about…*panics*

Wish me luck

Katie

New Year Worries and Reflections

Source: Pinterest

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful and restful end to 2015, however you’ve spent it. I know I have. I feel incredibly lucky to have spent my time off seeing so many of my favourite people, and catching up on much needed chill out time.

No matter how rested you feel though, it’s always difficult to get back into a routine, and face those jobs you’ve let slide over christmas. I know I’ve started to feel very intimidated about what I’m going back to in January…how did I manage it all last term!? I know I’m not the only one who feels this way though, and that’s comforting. Us PGCE-ers have to stick together!

I have a suspicion that January and February will be the worst and most difficult time during this PGCE…if not totally, then at least so far. Today I bit the bullet and started to get organised again. I already feel so much better. I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for this month. If I can just work extremely hard throughout January, I’ll be able to enjoy some of my labouring in February when I finish my first placement (scary) and hand in my first assignment (terrifying). Terror aside, it has been achieved before, so there is no reason why I can’t also get through this!

2016 won’t be easy, but it has the potential to be a year of great achievements and successes. I can’t wait to be a teacher, and my apprehension comes only from not feeling like I’ll be able to do it. I appreciate the responsibility that comes with this career…and hope I can one day live up to that…fingers crossed.

Anyway, I’m now working my way through a packet of biscuits while getting my to do list in order. I hope you all have a fantastic start to your year, and remember however big the task at hand seems, it can be done, and you will do it! Just keep moving in the right direction 🙂

Katie