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!!!!!