May 17, 2011

AP3 comment

Recent trainee comment in AP3, read 'em and weep!

I feel that I have had a very successful year in training. I have tried very hard to reflect and develop my teaching and ultimately I have been rewarded. I work very hard to build up an effective and meaningful student-teacher relationship with the majority of the pupils that I teach and therefore have been rewarded with some fantastic comments from pupils who are inspired to achieve in my lessons. I have found a natural ease in teaching and thoroughly enjoy delivering lessons. I have become quicker and more adept at planning and now have a greater array of activities to choose from; however there are still some areas of improvement in regard to this. Sometimes in lessons I will play it safe simply because I am unfamiliar with the group dynamics mainly or concerned about behaviour but am trying to implement more adventurous and risky activities. One of the greatest qualities I have gained from this year is being able to take and respond to feedback. Whatever the style and type of lesson there will always be feedback and it has been really insightful to get a professional judgment on how things could be adjusted or shaped differently. Therefore, I strive to act upon all advice and feedback where possible and look for ways to improve the quality of my teaching. I feel that I also manage behaviour well and have had no major problems throughout my training, anything that has presented as a challenge I have dealt with, with the right people and the correct procedures. I feel that as a practitioner I have gained the skills to be able to know how to respond directly to the changing nature and pace of the lesson and can adapt my lessons ‘on the hoof’ accordingly. I also feel that I take on board other teachers styles and try to incorporate effective activities for example into my teaching and accordingly share my resources around to ensure collaborative working.

I feel that areas for development are to try and create a personalised routine for all my classes for next year so as to enforce and sustain the high expectations that I have of those who I teach. Once I get myself within that routine it will be easier to manage the learning environment. Also there were times within my training that I have fallen a bit short on some areas of subject knowledge. By and large this has been not with course content but being in response to questions that pupils ask during lessons that aren’t directly from the lesson. Having in depth subject knowledge will assist this and prepare me for many eventualities. I have also been very self critical from time to time during my training, whilst essentially this is good to be able to reflect I don’t see the things that I am getting right in lessons as they always seem to be overshadowed but the improvements. Therefore, it is important that I reflect positively on lessons more, which may even consist of making a list of areas that really worked well within the lesson before the areas of improvement are addressed. I also have to be systematic with my approach to chasing up homework and missing classwork to ensure that all pupils are up to date. This will bode well if in my NQT I have some exam classes with coursework.


January 20, 2011

Complimentary Placement

Well hello, been a long time.

Can't believe how fast the Xmas holidays went. So here I am now in my complimentary placement and about half way through it already!! The school is very impressive and the facilities are very good for the students although they don;t realise half of what they have. I think the more technology you give pupils the more they take it for granted. I have had quite an experience already here.

Firstly, I enjoyed my day of pupils tracking a lovely year 7 girl who I would eventually end up teaching. I followed the class around for most of the day and it was great to observe some other lessons outside of the Humanities faculty. However, generally (I'm going to sound really pretentious here) I was not impressed with the standard of teaching :( For a school that is due to be Ofsteded any time now you would think that the teachers would be on their toes and trying out good lessons. What I was surprised at is how unconcered some teachers were with the fact that I was observing lessons which were not particularly inspiring. Generally they all stuck to the formula of sharing learning outcomes, and achieving those which was excellent for me to observe and learn from. But, I think they just lack a bit of interest to keep pupils engaged. Some teachers however, are particularly brilliant and it is only observing them can I comment on how the rest of the teachers teach.

I have been spoilt really like so many other trainees in the fact that I have come from a really good school with a great department into another school with an equally very good department. Thus I could not really understand why I was placed in this school as I was under the impression that it had to be a contrast to our normal one, in fact they are pretty much the same. Most of the pupils that attend my complimentary school live in the same catchment area for my normal school.

My first observation was with the Year 7 group mentioned. Here they do 'Opening Minds' which is a mixture of Geography, HIstory, RE, Citizenship and PLTS's. This I found quite challenging as I was completely out of my comfort zone. Not only in th fact that I am in a new school, but I am teaching a non-history element of Opening Minds and the fact that the first lesson I take over I asked to be observed!! I'm crazy, add onto that it was one lesson of three that day so I ended up being observed for the whole of the three lessons. It was like being in intensive care only not so relaxing!!! I jest, it was fine, I showed real professionalism and promise, (their words not mine) and they were generally impressed with me.

I am taking over a year 9 and year 10 group today, the year 10 I have extensively planned for. This is a proper observation so I went to town planning for it. I was really brave and am testing out a market place style lesson.The first time I've tried it and the first time that I am teaching the year 10!! Again, fell like I enjoy putting myself under pressure!! I am confident in the lesson, but concerned that they won't finish what I want them to do as the lessons here are only 50 minutes. I also don't want the lesson to fall apart as I have spent so much time planning and preparing the resources. However, I won't be too upset if that happens, hopefully the constructive feedback that I will have can point me in the right direction if I get it wrong. It is an interesting topic: the Vietnam war American Tactics and I aim to win them over by doing something a bit different with them. Well this is what teaching is all about.

The thing I find hard about this placement is that I am so used to the rules and procedures of my normal school that I am at a bit of loss in what to do in certain circumstances. I find as well that by the time that I get used to all these classes and feel settled with them I will be time for me to leave. Although haveing said that there was one piece of advice that I have had from my mentor that has proved to be invaluable: the idea of linking learning outcomes to the NC and specifically using the words within them so that the pupils can relate at all times to where they are heading in relation to the NC levels.

Oh and this school is also getting a History PGCE student as well, looking forward to sharing some banter with them and see how the training styles will differ in practice. Hopefully, we will be able to learn from each other. SO will have to wait until tomorrow to find out who they are!!

Oh also mention of teaching A-level- Edexcel changing nature of warfare looking at the Boer War!!! OMG!! Definately need to increase my subject knowledge around this. Thus again highlighting another pressure from these complimentary placements; I have to learn a whole new scheme of work for KS3 and KS4!! THere are overlaps which is nice, but by the time I have an adequate view of the whole course I will, again have to leave!! OH dear! Well I am off to teach in 7 mins now, my very well prepared US tactics lesson. GO CRAIG!!!!!


September 28, 2010

First few weeks of training

Well, as I exist on Warwick's system now I can finally write my blog!

The first few weeks have been particularly smooth in school. The first week consisted mainly of industion sessions to the school and training on new school policies and procedures. As it turned out many of the veteraned staff memebers also had to get used to the new Behaviour for Learning policy as well so we are all in the same boat. It seemed like quite alot of information to get used to at first but steadily I'm getting used to the amount of paperwork being sent my way. As Myton is a specialist training school as well, they offer great support when it comes to the actual training as well as support from the staff members. It was very daunting on the first day of term to see all the staff members as a collective body! However, they soon made all the new staff members feel welcome and helped out where they could.

The second week was still a week full of inductions and the like and we were still getting used to the school. However, it felt as if we had been here a lot longer! The second week I started teaching my first group. A top set year seven that I have resposibility over. Surprisingly, I wasn' t very nervous at all (I mean they're only year 7!) and the lesson went really smoothly, I had fun! However, the next lesson was a mess! I hadn't prepared with enough time and so I was still fiddling around with my resources at the beginning of the lesson for a starter activity. It was then that I realised that with those types of activities you really need to plan well in advance and have the resources prepared well in advance and on hand. Warwick sessions on Friday's I found particularly useful with Paul Evans and the other GTP's seem eager to get involved with the activities.

Teaching from the Third week was increased, I now team teach a few lessons of year 10 GCSE. I found this particularly daunting as I am not used to teaching GCSE. However, because I had decent subject knowledge and good ideas I was able to impliment them into a plan. However, as their regular teacher pointed out to me, no matter what part of the lesson I take I should always do a lesson plan. It became apparent that my structure was a little rough around the edges! Also in the third week I shadowed a year 7 pupil for the day. This was very insightful. He is registered as having Emotional and Behavioural difficulties and is in a low set for pretty much every subject. However, he was a joy to follow all day. It soon became apparent that he was working most of the time beyond the abilities of the rest of the class and often finished exercises and activities with relative ease. He was very eager to get involved in all the lessons by putting his hand up and engaging with the teacher. At times when he looked bored or lathargic it soon became apparent that he was actually paying attention and that he was listening to the teachers' instructions. This experience was particularly useful as well considering that I will be taking over the class at some stage. I got to see the key pupils with behaviour problems as well as the ones which can work at a decent pace. It was a warming experience in the last lesson of Drama to see that the pupil was fully engaged and had really good drama skills! I decided to take him aside at the end of the day to commend him not only for good behaviour but also for his work ethic and attitude. To me he seems to be held back by being in that class, he's not being tested enough and so in the future if he remains in that group he may become disruptive.

Just a word for my mentor as well: AMAZING! I'm sure that she will give even more outstanding advice and support as the year goes by.

Thats all folks


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