February 08, 2011

Reflections on Week 14

It's good to be back at uni! While the hours are in fact very short compared to school days, it does still feel like a lot of work. I had the holidays off as much as possible, I was at least kind to myself in terms of sleep and workload. So it was a bit of a shock to the system having to get up early and to have deadlines looming. I notice there is a lot of directed time written in to the timetable over the coming weeks which I'm immensely grateful for... what with my student loan being messed up and having routine things like doctors appointments to make, it's highly useful to have some flexible time during the day.

The university sessions have been really useful at focussing me on what I'm doing. The problem I found in school was that I got unsure of what would be "good" teaching for a particular situation and I'd get a variety of advice from different teachers and sources. It was only stuff I was very sure about that survived the placement, like comment only marking, the rest went astray a little as the difference between good teaching and easy teaching got blurred. My standards had slipped by the end and while I was aware of what had happened I couldn't say exactly how and what to do about it. Coming back at uni has helped me figure that out.

It's great to see everyone again; there has been far less comparisons of placements than I expected! This is really great in many ways. I'd still like to get an idea of what other trainees teaching looks like, being on my own has meant I only have proper teacher's practice to compare mine to. Obviously it's wildly different, I have far more paperwork and formal structuring going on, but also in terms of what actually happens  in planning and assessment. I was told at the start of the placement that because they are proper teachers with many classes, they will be grabbing sheets out the filing cabinet at last minute, in no way is that ok for me to do. Agreed but it meant getting ideas of how to plan in a non-time-consuming way was a bit thin. I compared myself to the output of the teachers and expected the same things of myself which I know is unrealistic but I had nothing else to compare to. I think having another trainee in my department for PP2 will be helpful on that front. But I'll need to be careful not to assume that what they're doing is what I should aim for, obviously they're learning just like me!

The Master's essay is going ok but slowly. Which is a shame as it's due very very soon! I have an idea of the quality I want to write to, actually writing to that standard is proving harder. The inevitable consequence is that I'll have to drop it a little so I can actually write it but I'm reluctant to actually start that process.


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