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

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Summer Holiday – Cala D’or, Mallorca

Hello all!

Long time so speak. I hope all of you have been thoroughly enjoying your summer holidays. I am writing this whilst relaxing in my hotel room in Spain. Life is good! This is why I’ve been absent for a week or so, but it really has been time well spent (although I have missed my little blog) I feel so refreshed and relaxed. Unfortunately today is our last full day and tomorrow we travel home to rejoin the real world…sigh. However, do any of you find that your appreciation for home cooking and your own bed is extremely heightened after a trip? I may not be looking forward to leaving the beach behind but I’m strangely excited to cook a shepherds pie!

Anyway, I thought I would share some photos from our trip. I highly recommend Cala D’or if you’re thinking of travelling to Mallorca, or if you’re looking for a relaxed, tourist holiday. It’s the perfect place to visit if you just want to sit on a beach for a week, drink cocktails and eat far too much. We stayed at the Cala Esmeralda hotel which was beautiful! We will definitely be planning a trip back in the future. It is an adults only hotel though, so although not suitable for families, it has been a relaxing getaway for us, especially as we have travelled during the summer holidays. Although this is a downside to teaching, our trip has been surprisingly quiet and child free.

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My handsome other half, enjoying the quiet, child free pool at our hotel.

My handsome other half, enjoying the quiet, child free pool at our hotel.

A few books I picked up to read on holiday.

A few books I picked up to read on holiday.

We had so much fun experimenting with our GoPro! We have a hero 3, if you’re interested.

So, we had an amazing time, but the most exciting part was…

We got engaged! I feel so incredibly lucky after having the most amazing week away with my boyfriend, and to top it all of, I’m travelling back with him as my fiancé (that feels weird to say) Summer doesn’t get any better then that. For any of you that are interested, he did an amazing job, and proposed on the beach at night …super cheesy and romantic!

After nearly a full year of working as a TA and getting used to my Miss name, it does seem weird that becoming a Mrs is on the horizon. Luckily we have lots of saving to do before I need to worry about how to introduce my new name to my future class. Phew.

Anyway I hope you enjoyed a sneak peak at our trip to Spain. If you’re interested in travelling to Cala D’or and have any questions, please let me know in the comments 🙂

A future Mrs

Baking Bread and Uni Work

Hello guys,

I hope you’re all enjoying a lovely Sunday. I’ve spent today being surprisingly productive, and I’m actually feeling quite pleased with myself. I did however indulge in my guiltiest pleasure…baking! I find baking so relaxing and enjoyable, and recently purchased a new baking book. So armed with my scales and my hand mixer, I spend today whipping up some banana bread and a wholemeal loaf.

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I’ve never made bread before, and I’m not ashamed to say how proud I am of this mighty loaf!

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I would definitely recommend this book if you or someone you know is looking to learn to make bread. Lovely design, easy to follow instructions and more recipes then a beginner will ever need!

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Banana bread using The Hummingbird Bakery’s recipe.

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So aside from making and photographing baked goods, I have been making some progress with my university prep work. One thing I have learnt about myself is that I am very unknowledgeable when it comes to grammar terms. Subordinate clauses, prepositions, fronted adverbials, and determiners are making my head spin! It’s often difficult to admit that you’re not very good at something, especially something you thought you were generally ok at! So I’m trying to embrace this discovery as a huge positive, as I can now improve my grammar knowledge. Improving this will definitely be my target for next week or so. Watch this space! If you happen to be reading this, and can recommend a website or textbook that would be useful for improving my grammar terminology, please let me know!

For the rest of the afternoon I’m going to watch The Lorax, and yes it does count as PGCE prep work 🙂 ! Part of our recommended reading was to read a children’s text and watch a recent film adaptation of it. It has taken me a while to find a book/film that felt right for me, but I’m happy with my choice and interested to watch the film and compare it to the book. The book has a wonderful message that I can see being translated into lessons easily so I’m hoping the film is just as inspiring.

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So that’s this Miss over and out for today! Next week is the last week of term and my final ever (hopefully) week as a teaching assistant. It’s a scary but exciting prospect, and this calming Sunday will hopefully prepare me for the emotional ups and downs that I have to come throughout the week. I feel so lucky to have worked at my school, and beyond excited for the year ahead, but I am sad to leave not only the team, but every little person I have had the pleasure of working with!

What do you do to make your day relaxing?

Katie

 

A Teacher Must Have?

This is just a quick one from me, but I couldn’t help sharing this amazing mug I have stumbled upon. I think this is a must for my teaching career, and by putting it on here I am secretly hoping I may receive it for my birthday (I’m sure I’ll end up buying it myself however) Without further ado…

It’s available from http://www.theliterarygiftcompany.com along with other grammar grumbling mugs. I am definitely obsessed. Is this the point in my life where I realise I’m a bit of a loser? Who cares! I’m happy 🙂

Let me know if you’ll be buying this mug for anyone special if your life.

Katie

Feeling Oh So Positive!

Good morning,

So I have spend all morning sitting in bed reading all of the blog post entries from http://www.becomingmisssmith.co.uk, during her PGCE year. Yes, ALL of them. From start to finish and I now feel so inspired! I feel as though I really submerged myself in her journey, the highs and the lows, and reading how she come out the other side has given me a fantastically positive, ‘go-get-em’ attitude for the week!

It’s easy for me, working in a school already, to trick myself into thinking that it’s ok for me to be lazy on my holidays…I deserve a break right? Wrong! Time is passing me by, and this isn’t about what I deserve, it’s about what I want to achieve! I’m more excited then ever to start the course, (despite a mounting list of worries) and this week I want to be a productive, high achieving pre-PGCE student…yep, that’s me! 🙂

So here’s my ‘let’s achieve big things this had term’ plan:

  • I will soon be off to the gym. I’ve been on a health kick lately and I want to keep this up before starting in September, as I’m sure time for the gym will be a thing of the past! I’m a big believer that a healthy lifestyle can dramatically improve your mental wellbeing (give me some of that!)
  • I WILL finish reading ‘Private Peaceful’. I’ve not been enjoying it, and I now need to finish it. I’ll go into more detail in another post about my full opinion of it, because there are lots of positive things I can say about it. I think my main battle with it is due to me reading it as a child and disliking it then. I wanted to re-read it with a fresh perspective (as it’s on our reading list) but I don’t think me and this book with ever be BFFs.
  • Finish my desk. You may have seen my previous blog post about my plans to re-vamp my work space. This is still in progress, but progress needs to continue to be made!
  • Organise my prep work. I’ve been battling my way through it all since getting my list of things to do. It’s being going well but I still don’t quite feel as though I have a firm grip on everything. I think a good to-do list should sort that out.

I did mention I have a list of worries about September. All of these fall into the category of worrying for the sake of worrying. I do that. I know everything will be fine and will sort itself out in time, but none the less lets get those out in the open:

  • Will I run out of money? I have a great support system but I do not want to be borrowing from anyone.
  • Will I have enough time for friends, family or my boyfriend? I have heard from NQTs that the answer is no, and I’m sure this will all be fine, but I do worry slightly that my busyness may push away people I love…I guess if they care about me then this won’t even be an issue, as I’m doing something incredibly positive for myself and my future.
  • Will the commute be ok? Getting to the university will be peachy, but I do worry that I’ll be assigned a placement in Timbucktu.
  • Finally, will I be able to hack it? I know the answer will be yes, because I do believe in myself. But, of course there is always that worry that I won’t! Reading of Miss Smith’s successes today has given me a much more positive outlook though. If she can do it, so can I!

So that’s where I stand today, eager and excited, but starting to feel slightly nervous about silly things that will no doubt work themselves out. So far this blog seems to have had the theme of mini-successes, something that I try and focus on frequently. With training to teach being a long and difficult road, focussing on the small successes feels right to me. On that note, here are todays:

  • I ordered some Julia Donaldson books for my collection 🙂 I know I don’t need to order books, but I have been picking up a few favourites here and there. I love building up my own collection that will (hopefully) one day follow me to a classroom.
  • Did I mention I was going to the gym today??
  • My horrible cold is passing now…children really are ever so germy!
  • Reading about other peoples journeys into teaching has made me feel totally fantastic.
  • We received our timetable for September, hooray! It all seems real now and to celebrate I have laminated it (no I am not joking)

Well that’s enough for now! Hopefully later today I’ll be able to add to that list of successes that I got lots of work done 🙂 Fingers crossed!

‘Miss’ over and out.

Chocolate Eggs and Dinosaurs

Recently, work has been a whirlwind of Easter fun. I was so excited to help put on the nursery Easter egg hunt, and wanted to share a few pictures of the day 🙂 Easter is a big occasion at our school, and it seems the Easter bunny knew that, since he sent us a lot of eggs for the children!

The easter bunny delivers in bulk!

The easter bunny delivers in bulk!

We hid eggs throughout the garden while the children had their snack and milk. It was slightly difficult as we had to ensure two children with special dietary needs found their dairy free eggs…in the end we went with the simplest method of writing their name on it. Why complicate things eh?


They nursery children have also recently been learning about dinosaurs. The teacher made a large egg out of mod-roc and told the children that it was discovered on the field. For days we all cared for the ‘egg’ and studied it, making observational drawings. Finally the egg began to show cracks, before hatching (conveniently over the weekend) The dinosaur left a note for the children before leaving…heading back to his dino family we presume. Whilst most children were thrilled, one or two were a little concerned and shaken up by the thought…very sensible really! Anyway, the teacher decided to introduce the egg hunt by finding a note from the dinosaur. He had left the eggs as a thank you present to the children for looking after him in egg form. Again most children were so excited, but one little girl was very upset by this! Assuring her that the dinosaur was not in the garden and would never come back was not good enough security for her, so we rushed out and found her egg very quickly. Once inside with a large quantity of chocolate she felt fine 🙂

It was such a fun morning and seeing the children’s excitement was amazing. Keeping the children from eating their eggs before home time was a challenge though!

For their home learning the children had all made a dinosaur for a display. The children (and parents) all made a tremendous effort and each dinosaur had a unique personality.

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With only two more days of term left, we’re winding down on a very positive note 🙂 I’m looking forward to reflecting on the time I’ve spent as a TA so far, and going into the summer term with the right attitude to getting the most out of my final weeks at school.

I hope you all have a lovely week and are enjoying the Easter fun too!

Katie

 

Spending my life in the library

Hello, and happy Sunday! 🙂

I’ve been trying to really make a dent on the reading list I have, and have subsequently been spending a lot of time sitting in the corner of the children’s section of my local library. Hopefully I don’t look like a wierdo, despite spending my time browsing the picture books!

I’m currently working as a Teaching Assistant and I’m always praying I don’t bump into any students, as explaining why Miss is spending her free time reading ‘Handa’s Surprise’ on the floor, surrounded by books may be a little awkward.

None the less, I have been really enjoying this part of my course preparation. I always loved reading as a child, but found it less appealing the older I got…I’m not entirely sure why if I’m honest (I’m sure that’s something I’ll need to start reflecting on). I was a huge Jacqueline Wilson fan, and loved how she tackled difficult topics like divorce and bullying, making her stories real and relatable.

Three I've just finished. I particularly enjoyed 'The Boy in the Dress' I'm excited to read more from David Walliams...I'm definitely a fan :)

Three I’ve just finished. I particularly enjoyed ‘The Boy in the Dress’ I’m excited to read more from David Walliams…I’m definitely a fan 🙂

A few new ones not on my list, but I'm trying to take in as many children's books as possible, and not just be limited to the ones recommended by the University.

A few new ones not on my reading list, but I’m trying to take in as many children’s books as possible, and not just be limited to the ones recommended by the University.

A few award winning picture books, and 'Tom's Midnight Garden'. I'm particularly excited to read this as I remember reading it as a primary school pupil, and doing lots of work surrounding the story.

A few award winning picture books, and ‘Tom’s Midnight Garden’. I’m particularly excited to read this as I remember reading it as a primary school pupil, and doing lots of work surrounding the story.

‘The Boy in the Dress’ David Walliams
I was so impressed with this book and can’t recommend it enough. I haven’t read anything else that touches on the topic of gender equality in children and I felt it was a story that needed to be told.  It was funny, enjoyable and uplifting. During the short time I’ve worked in a school I’ve already come across situations where children in nursery may choose to wear non-stereotypical dressing up choices, (we have a boy who loves being Ariel or Cinderella) much to the confusion of other children. I loved how this story enforces the idea of being yourself, and that wearing a dress doesn’t dictate your other interests, your manliness/femininity, or your sexuality.

‘Mr Stink’ David Walliams
Despite also enjoying this book it was definitely second best to ‘The Boy in the Dress’. However it still had that unique hilarity you would expect from Walliams, and I think this made it more enjoyable for me as an adult. One thing I found very interesting was that it seems all of these books are based in the same town, despite all having different main characters that don’t link whatsoever. They all have the local corner shop in common and the friendly owner named Raj. I’m interested to read a few more of his books to see if this continues throughout. If so, this might be a fantastic geography lesson opportunity, where the children could map out the town in which all the books are set.

‘Lola Rose’ Jacqueline Wilson
I originally read this book when I was about 9, and was excited to re-read it and see how my opinion has changed. Wilson discusses some very difficult themes throughout the book (domestic violence, child neglect, low self esteem, anxiety and fear), and my adult brain at times didn’t want the younger me to have dealt with these topics. I think sometimes we want children to be sheltered from the difficulties in life, and rightly so, but for many children this is reality. Because of this, i think it’s important that such issues are addressed. Despite this I quickly fell in love with the book all over again and feel that the themes discussed where done so in an age appropriate way. The story was imaginative, the characters were likeable but realistic and I think it’s important children can relate to the books they read.

If you’ve read any of these books let me know what you think, and if you’ve got any recommendations for me I’d love to hear them.

Well I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Katie a.k.a The Library Loiterer