So here we are. The very last entry to this blog, which has all been about the writing rather than the reading - and of course which is ironically all about reading.
I have just finished PP4, and it has been great - honestly, the best time of the course (if not my career). I have been teaching in Year 2, in a very challenging (behaviour-wise) class, full of remarkable and intriguing pupils who I got to know a great deal. I will miss them, and judging by the cards, hugs and tears on the last day I suspect they may miss me, at least for a little time.
But anyway, how to sum it all up?
In terms of reading a few highlights stand out. One is Kate's teaching, who I think is generally recognised by the student mob as possibly the best tutor and teacher we've had this year. So many great ideas which work in practice have come out of the seminars, one of which got me a job. I've drawn on the ideas again and again in my teaching, and they've usually given life to what can easily become a rather predictable and dull lesson plan. And the range of texts I've read as a result has been an equal delight - Marcus Sedgwick's 'The Dark Horse' was a soaring highlight, but there were many others which are now sitting on my shelves. So thank you Kate.
In the classroom, the other big highlight has been the creative responses the literature have inspired - I've adored every drama activity I've taught, which have always been closely tied to a good book. And it is always striking how much children, no matter how challenging their behaviour is, love to listen to a good story. I had my last class hypnotized by 'The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch' by Ronda Armitage - and it bought back all sorts of memories of reading it when I was a child. As I was leaving, we were in the process of creating their own Lighthouse Keeper story and turning it into a stop-motion animation. Quite possibly the best activity I never taught.
Another thought - on all the placements most pupils had some time to read independantly, usually as a default activity when nothing else was going on. But sadly, this often seemed to relegate it to a default time-filler kind of activity. It does make me want to engage more in the personal reading of my pupils when it's going to be my classroom - which will be the next classroom I step into now, scarily. Hopefully I can find ways of bringing in pupils' preferences of reading into my lessons - but I'll let you know if I figure out how to do that in practice... But one thing's for sure - my reading area is going to be better than the three classes I've taught in so far!
There have been so many highlights, so many great texts, most of which are mentioned on this blog. This summer I'll probably be reading more Terry Pratchett again, but I'll also be continuing to hunt for good books for my Year 4's next year.
My last thought is the most pressing one - I have been struck what a privilege it is to be a teacher. The relationships with the kids have been extraordinary. I finish this course and this blog with the realisation that a teacher and a pupil sharing a book is about as perfect way to make a living as there could be.
So long, and thanks for all the fish.