September 29, 2011

TIP NUMBER 4 – Make friends with your fellow subject GTPs!

The main difference between the GTP and PGCE is the amount of contact you have with the University and also your fellow trainees. I knew a couple of the PGCE scientists before our courses started last year, and they really built a close knit community. Subject sessions highlighted that when we joined them. Very cliquey!:-)

One thing having that community does is having a lot of people in a similar boat you can bounce ideas off, share resources, and talk about worries. Though it is more difficult as a GTP, it is still doable. Think 9 of us started on the science GTP last year, and only 5 finished. But the 5 of us who did all got on great and we spoke pretty regularly, and shared loads of stuff. We all had different specialisms, so they became a great source of information.

In other news, I became a Dad on Monday. Sophia Rose was 7lb 7oz, and is stunning. Guess it'll add perspective to that bottom set year 10 lesson I teach, but to be honest, I love all the kids I am teaching in my new school. It is first rate. Setting 2 weeks of cover is relatively difficult though! Doing it day by day so far, popping in on route to hospital to make sure all the equipment is available.

Chelsea were robbed tonight.

Steve x


September 23, 2011

TIP NUMBER 3 – Ask for help

Apologies for the massive gap between blogs. I literally have no internet access at school in my class, so do not have the chance to write the blogs with the frequency I used to! On to the blog....

I was a keen bean early doors during my GTP. Wonderful energy levels you see. Eager to impress obviously, as I am sure all are when starting. Making fancy powerpoints for your lessons, becoming experts in smartboard technologies.... Now, the workload gets a little bit manic at a certain point (November time from what I remember) but I continued to do everything from scratch. It was difficult.

Now my complimentary placement taught me many things. One of them was teamwork is key, and sharing resources and ideas is a wonderful concept. All the teachers there were quick to help, lend, share, suggest.

It turned out all the teachers at my main school were too, I had never asked, thats all. I have quickly been able to build up a huge stack of resources, which have given me many ideas. Though I do not use a lot of it as found, it is always a useful starting point.

So yeah, make life easy on yourself, ask for help! Workload gets reduced, and to be quite honest, the best resource we have is our colleagues for learning. So use them.

NQT news - had my first observation today. Get 1 a half term, and it went really well. Finding school pretty amazing. Absolutely love the kids I am teaching, though I do miss the kids from Myton of course. The organisation is a bit manic, but I am getting my head around it. I have a load more responsibilty with lots of GCSE qroups and exams coming up in November - pressure is on. And I have to cover whole modules in 16 lessons, it is a little mental. Hopefully I can get everyone through.

Still awaiting the arrival of baby me. Due in 5 days. :-/

Any questions give me a shout! Dr Rockett, hope the spreadsheet is useful!


September 08, 2011

TIP NUMBER 2 – Make a spreadsheet

My love for Microsoft excel came very handy during the GTP. At each standard assessment point, be they for Q1-9, 10-21 or 22-33, I was always confident I had enough information and evidence to back me up. That was mainly down to my organisation.

Simply, you need a spreadsheet with the following titles in row A.

Type of Evidence, Observed/Witnessed/Responsible, Date, Details, Resources, 1, 2, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7A, 7B, 8, 9, 10...

and so on up to standard 33.

And simply, as you attend a meeting, as you attend a twilight at school, as you plan a lesson, as you observe a lesson, as you go to a parents evening, as you do some intervention, as you discuss a specific topic in your mentor meeting.... just simply record it on the spreadsheet, and tick off which standards it provides evidence towards. You would be surprised how one 30 minute session with a tutor can tick so many things.

Doing this early means you have less to worry about when compiling folders to find evidence for each standard. Literally sort the data on the spreadsheet for each standard in turn, and make a judgement about your best pieces. It also gets you looking at the standards early, and once you read them all and come up with ideas of what constitutes evidence towards each of them, your confidence will also grow.

So the NQT year, they say is pretty difficult. Well I am a week in, and bar having my own form all on my own, the 4/5 lessons a day are honestly going smoothly. I have a load of resources and lesson plans ready from last year, as invariably you will end up teaching similar things to before. I am loving my year 7 form, and it is going really well. I mainly have my complimentary placement at Perry Beeches to thank for that, as I have used all their ideas for form time, focusing on their reward schemes in particular. I have used a couple of tactics picked up on my induction day last year at Myton too, and also from my first core session at Warwick, to help all the class meet each other and learn each others names. It really is awesome.

New school is really good, kids are great and I get the feeling they appreciate a bit of banter and are thankful for the effort teachers put in for them. I am looking forward to a really good year as an NQT, and I am grateful I did the GTP to get me really ready for this process.

Keep it real homies,

Stevo x


August 26, 2011

TIP NUMBER 1 – Push to be a form tutor

Howdy

So I will quickly compile my recommendations for how to maximise your GTP experience.

Without a doubt, being a form tutor / associate form tutor is an amazing thing to do. It really helped me to settle in to a routine each day, get to know a class, and gives you ample opportunity to meet a shed load of the standards. Intervention, dealing with personalised issues, finding solutions, PSHE, working with other staff members etc. You get to grips with school policy much quicker. And even more importantly, if you fall on your feet like I did with the 55 tutees I had over two groups, you quickly gain some allies in the school who will back you up and spread the gospel of how cool you are. At least that's what I think they did. Getting to know a bunch of students well as a tutor is awesome, and though the contrast from going from year 11 associate tutor during my GTP to a year 7 tutor at my new school is large, I feel prepared and excited. Things go well at my new school, I could see this year 7 form grow up throughout their secondary school career, and I could potentially be their one constant throughout their school life. Massive responsibility. I am thankful for my complimentary placement, where I was actually assigned to a year 7 form group, so I have a few weeks experience of how it should roll. I find out more about it next Thursday.

There is one draw back, I adore the tutees I had, and will now miss them. I am a bit sad not to have the chance to teach those staying to do A-Level Physics. Still it was great to see them today as they collected their GCSE results. Oh wait, I didn't.

So last week I missed seeing the year 12s and 13s get their results (mainly wanted to go to convince the year 12s to stick with Physics into A-Level) due to an unscheduled visit to a local hospital. But today, nothing was in my way. Except Kwik Fit. Currently, we're a one-car family, and its MOT was Wednesday. It failed, like me inmy French GCSE. After a number of repairs, it wasn't quite done last night. 'It'll be completed first thing in the morning.' Now this garage was 3 miles away, and was effectively a 50 minute walk away. Opening at 8.30am, I set off from my house at 8am, so I could collect it at 9am. I arrived, Icould see the car, still raised on a ramp. Waiting in reception, I settled down and played poker on my phone. After 30 mins, someone finally entered reception, 'how long will the Corsa be?' '2 hours'. '*&&(( %^%$££* )*^^*( )(*?>:L' was my reply.

So a cab and a bus got me to Brum International station, missing the direct train to Leam by 1 minute. Students collecting their results from 10-12, it was already 10.15..... I thought a train to Cov and a quick change to Leam there. So I did it. Got to Coventry station at 10:26. The hourly train to Leamington was at 25 past the hour it transpired. I was gutted. 59 minutes later I jumped on a train (next bus was 10 minutes and a 44 minute journey, and taxis quoted me £28-35), and finally got to Myton for 11.59am. All students been and gone.

In summary, I felt pretty pants after that. But, I am glad I felt pants, as my anguish was only cus I wanted to see how the wonderful 11M and Y had done, along with GCSE groups I taught. And they had done brilliantly too. I have no way of contacting them to say awesome job boys and girls, hopefully they sensed my vibe!!

My hard working girls did awesomely, Myton published their top 10 sets of results on a press release. 5 were in my form, including two of the three straight A*s. So proud! I saw how hard they worked for their grades, staying after school every night for some revision or enrichment session, and both of them were logged onto my Physics Q&A forum group the night before their exam way past midnight. Rachel and Melissa, big hand.

Thoroughly deserved, and I am stoked about it. Also by Physics results generally. Beat Chemistry and Biology, and had more A*s than any other subject, along with 100% C and above. I put a lot of effort in with revision sessions over Easter and half term in May, along with after school classes. I am sure that contributed to the success in some way.

But yeah, GTP'ers of 2011/12, ask to get involved with a form group if you are not already. That is tip number 1!!


August 04, 2011

Some might say, that sunshine follows thunder

What to do on a lousy summer holiday day.....

I require cash. Loads of it. Baby on the way, bills to pay, car to buy. I've decided I am going to write a book. Cannot be that hard can it? All I need is a few characters, a plot etc. I'll keep you updated on the progress.

I have just read the very first post I wrote back in September. Something to do with bombshells, and Jane Freshwater crushing my dreams. I also duly noted the purpose of this blog. To reflect.

Well we've all completed the GTP now on this course, so what advice would one pass on to the next cohort? I will endeavour therefore to think of 10 key points, and put them on this blog. Perhaps that'd be useful for next year's gaggle (or whatever a group of trainees is called (they are always ridiculous pub quiz questions - what is a group of ladybirds known as etc.)).

In other news, played golf yesterday. I was amazing. For the first hole anyway. Chelsea are 100% in pre-season without conceding, and Torres has bagged a couple. Liverpool are shedding goals everywhere and look hopeless. Man City are self-imploding, 15 strikers on their books, and most don't want to play for them. Newcastle seem doomed, Villa have little or no direction in where they are going. Arsenal have a want-away captain.... Spurs have reportedly hired a private investigator to rob the Hammers. Glad West Ham have the Olympic stadium, will be the best ground in League 1 in 2013! This PI story, might make for a good book you know..... I like it when the bad guy has a cunning plan and falls flat on their face, and ends up in deep water.

In conclusion, league title is Chelsea's or United's. As per usual.

Stay tuned for my 10 essential tips as and when I have these moments of clarity.

Keep enjoying the summer one and all.

Dr Steve x


July 28, 2011

Holiday!!

I have noticed on facebook a few teachers saying how bored they are in the holidays.

I just wanted to refect on that and say I am not bored. I remember loving school holidays as a kid, and I do as a teacher too.


July 24, 2011

It's over, I knew it would end this way….. Blur

Well it became quite the emotional week for many as I left Myton. I really felt part of the school, appreciated by a lot of people, and to be quite honest, felt a spirit amongst the staff that had not been apparent all year. That was really good.

Had an excellent final staff cricket match and presentation, enjoyed the staff summer do, leaving speeches and staff bbq after school on Friday too. Science presented me with copious amounts of Lego as a leaving gift which was great, which I countered with some original poetry to say a big thanks to them too. Even had a couple of members of staff in tears over my leaving: tears of joy probably. And my subject mentor bought me the best present ever. I will really miss her.

However, the really hard part was saying good bye to all my classes, who were the first set of classes I taught, and will therefore always mean a lot, and probably be very memorable. I was delighted to see so many were sad I was leaving. I was surprised by the number of cards I got from them and am loving the presents! The chocolate the wife has consumed over the last two days, which quite frankly is rude.

I am quite a sentimental guy really, so the cards with personal messages mean a lot. I got one this week from a girl in my year 11 form who came in especially to see me to say thanks, and to give me the nicest baby outfit we own so far!! The card was lovely. However, two girls I taught, Beth and Grace, produced the finest card which I feel, sums up in a nutshell why I have had a blast this year. It went something like this:

Sir

We love you. Hope you have a nice time at your crap new school..... without us!!! Don't miss us too much. You know where we are if you want to be our science teacher again. Also a tip for your new school, don't EVER wear that bright orange shirt again, infact burn it!!!

A few examples of what it makes you look like; a walking carrott, a pumpkin for halloween, you work for easy jet, you work in an Orange phone shop, you're in a pop video.

On the bright side, you glow in the dark and you won't get hit by a car (sadly).

Gonna miss your hedgehog hair and when you abuse students by throwing stuff at them (JUST TO CLARIFY, THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED!!) & when you put us in slideshows. Ohh and when you shout 3, 2, 1... and when you sing Blink 182 - I miss you. Your CONSTANT Anchorman quotes! 'Its the pleats. Its an optical illusion'. & your scooter... please run over Harjot.

'I have never smoked, drank or taken drugs in my life. I have a heart condition.'

I hope your baby is nice and what not! Please don't scar him/her for life. Please. (that means wear a paper bag on your head, so it doesn't see your ugly face). Unfortunately babies cannot change their dads so it will have to put up with you.

Please leave your light sabre as a souvenir of your amazing teaching. thanks for letting me charge my phone and letting us listen to our music when working (awesome music too).

FANX M8 U SWND 2KAiii11

ps - we didn't mean any of the mean things we just said, don't forget us, and come back and visit us with your wife and baby.

It made me smile. A lot.

Excellent way to finish an amazing year. To the Kids I taught and tutored this year, fingers crossed you will be immense in all you do!

Though I also feel like I want to keep teaching them as they head into their final year. The year 12s I have done a load with this year, and leaving them as they head into year 13 is also a tad frustrating as I honestly feel like I was making a big difference with them too. Suppose this is a feeling every teacher will get each year, so I best man up and get on with it.


July 20, 2011

The Ivyrise and rise of Physics

In the words of the dude in Stingray, anything can happen in the next half hour. I love Thunderbirds and Stingray by the way. Simple, but awesome.

I am currently reflecting in my lab, listening to my best mate's band Ivyrise on youtube, slowly throwing stuff away and making a 'keep sake' pile as I tidy up ready to leave. I have always been sentimental to be honest, but not sure wifey will be happy with how much I am planning on keeping and bringing home....! Especially after last night.

Anyways, I am realising how much I have loved this year, as I say goodbye to a number of people and students who I probably won't see again. A lot of people have contributed a hell of a lot to my enjoyment during my training. And the students are certainly at the top of my list to thank. I will miss a lot of them, and do feel a tad like I am betraying some, especially the year 12s as we have had an awesome 'learning journey' the last few months, to then leave them to finish their A-Levels without being able to contribute anything is a shame. Though they will have a couple of exceptional teachers next year to guide them home.

Went to my new school yesterday afternoon, and got my timetable. I am teaching Physics, and thats it. Which is pretty mint. Bar 1 year 7 class, it is all exam classes, so the pressure will be high, but I am up for it. Interestingly, they are bringing in AQA this year at GCSE, meaning my year 9 class will be doing AQA whereas the year 10s and 11s will be following the Edexcel specification. Need to get my head around that!! Also found out I will be a year 7 form tutor. At least the students won't know the school better than me! Should be awesome though, and if it all works out and I stay for a while, will be great to see them all progress through school and grow up. I found it hard when my year 11s left this year, dunno how I'd cope after 5 years with a form!

Headed back from that school back to Myton, and played in the final staff match of the season vs the 6th form. I had to open the batting along with Mr Grier of history. Why? It was a shootout for the golden duck cup. Despite some excellent innings this year, I have unfortunately got 2 golden ducks. Mr Grier had 1 GD and 2 other ducks. Unfortunately he survived his first ball, despite me trying to run him out, and I left with the presentation evening last night with a 3 feet by 4 feet cricket bat. Its huge, and the rules are it has to stay in my lounge for a year. The cricket team have been a real highlight for me too, and it will keep me associated to Myton for a time to come as I intend to play next year too as and when time allows.

Anyway, need to continue with my work on the schemes of learning.... !!

Ivyrock and Ivyroll


July 16, 2011

1 week left of the GTP

Howdy,

It is my final weekend as a Myton teacher. And there is a devilishly busy week ahead.

Year 10s are back, all the year 9s are back from their Newquay trips, year 12s still around too, as well as my final year 7 lessons.

But alas, this is not all. Monday marks the final staff cricket match of the season, vs the 6th form, along with the annual awards ceremony. I have a chance in 3 trophies it seems, two good (match winner and bowling averages) and golden duck trophy.... :-( Also I am visiting my new school on Monday afternoon to get my timetable and schemes of work so I can make some preparations over the summer. With a baby on the way, a productive summer could be a god send.

Tuesday and Wednesday I have meetings after school (mentor and department) as well as antenatal classes. By Wednesday, I have to have written 15 lesson plans for the new scheme of learning, for a SoL I won’t even be teaching. I am a tad concerned I will be putting in a lot more effort than most (which seems to be the way), but at least I can be proud of the stuff I have done. The lesson plans so far are really good, and it is testimony to my subject mentor who has given me so many good ideas. I'll miss her so much next year. She is an email away though!

We are having a Science lunch time on Thursday, which I think is to say adios to those who are leaving the department (me and TK Maxx). After school is the all staff summer do, and there is also another one after school Friday. Party time!

So literally not a quiet minute in the week.

I also have to prepare a reading for my brother's wedding which is two weeks today. Poetry is my forte, so I have set high standards for myself here.

I'll post a final copy of it on here once done!!

I got a letter this week confirming I had passed the course, so I am officially a teacher now. I guess this is the objective for the GTP year, so delighted to have done that. But honestly it is so much more than that. I have learned a lot about myself. I am pretty good in a crisis, and have stayed relaxed throughout the year despite many going manic around me. I always thought they were strengths of mine, and they have been confirmed. I also know now that teaching is the perfect vocation for me, and I love interacting with the students everyday. Each day is soooo varied, but at no point have I had a day where I haven't laughed or made a student laugh, and perhaps dare I say, imparted wisdom on someone. This is the name of the game, to pass on knowledge (that scaffolding thing we did in week one, Piaget or whatever his name was) and also to provide an environment for kids to enjoy and thrive. I like to think I have done this.

So yep, busy last week. Might be emotional; for others, they’ll miss me! I had three sets of parents tell me on Open evening on Thursday night (a great, but extremely tiring night of me making ice cream using Liquid Nitrogen for 3 hours straight) that they’re children were gutted I was leaving. I say for others, as I have a heart of stone and disfunctional tear ducts. I have not cried since the 1994 FA Cup final, and I have lived through some pretty sad times since then. But I just take it on the chin and move on. Next big test will be the birth of my child I guess. Bring it on, I won’t cry!!

I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish my Ford Ka, my motorised home for over 76000 miles over the last 5 years, a fond farewell. It will be moving on tomorrow as we ‘upgrade’ our vehicle situation (namely we buy a bigger car, wife drives that, and I get her Corsa (score for me :-/)). It provided Warwick University golf team loyalty and a number of memories, and despite it being a love bug and completely impractical, I love little Dennis.

Much like I love teaching.

Stevo x


July 13, 2011

Light at the end of the tunnel

I take it back. Full marks for Katie. Saviour!!!


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