December 08, 2011

IAA really monotonous 2 weeks.

Internal Assessment Activities are the bain of my life. Now there is many a positive of having a subject specialism which is in short supply and high demand. Coursework is not one of them.

Having been earmarked to run all Physics internal courseworks at my school for years 10 and 11 who are doing GCSE, there was a murmuring from some senior people that that was unfair. So instead of doing it continuously with all 6 GCSE groups, it is now down to 5.

There has been an IAA rota in place for 2 weeks now, and I feel like that is all I have done. One thing I can say, I am getting much better and efficient at delivering the lessons, doing the practical, making the mock exam time beneficial so they are well prepared for the real exam they take at the end of the 4 hours I have with them. But it has been hard work. It has been pretty rough in that I am consistently setting cover work each day, and I won't have seen my year 12s for 3 and a half weeks...

And then there'll be about 135 exams to mark over Christmas. Which means I have to mark 7.1 papers a day to have them done for next term.

I best be on Santa's nice list!

In other news, had my second observation last week. Got a 'Good' with lots of outstanding on there, though progress was only 'good' so that was the best I could do. What I discovered on my GTP last year was one persons opinion did not necessarily replicate in the next observer. This is still true now. Acting on feedback from my first observation, it seems I went 'too far' with the challenge aspect of the lesson. Anyway, I was happy with it which I guess is the important thing.

I have also decided over the last couple of weeks I will start an MA in Educational Innovation, and make sure those 30 CATS completed last year during the GTP doesn't go to waste. The workload for the NQT year I am finding absolutely fine so far. This is solely down to the GTP last year and the endless lesson plans that I wrote.

I am lucky that my school are willing to pay for the fees, so I really should take advantage of their generosity, and I thank them here in this most public of forums for it!! Course does look good from the limited information available, and I love the idea of giving it a science specialism. Hopefully it would have a massive impact on my teaching practise, and my aspiration to one day reach the dizzy heights of an AST.

Enjoy the end of term, my year 7 form Christmas party is going to be awesome!

Steve x

- 4 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Jamie Frost

    Hi Steve,
    It was handy to find this blog, and the advice and reflections you have given I’m sure will be invaluable. I’m hopefully starting a GTP in Maths in September, when I would have just finished my PhD.
    If you have the time, it would be useful if you had answers to any of these questions. (Feel free to email if you’d rather the reply not be public.)

    1. What time scale have you set yourself for attaining an AST position? (I have the same target!)
    2. When you left academia, did you have any initial pangs of doubt about leaving it, and if so, have such regrets been dispelled by teaching?
    3. Were you able to negotiate a starting grade higher than M1 due to your academic qualifications?

    10 Dec 2011, 14:59

  2. Jamie Frost

    (P.S. It took a number of tries at your ‘anti-spam’ answer before I got the format you were expecting – it might prevent some people from commenting!)

    10 Dec 2011, 15:01

  3. Steve Essex

    Hi Jamie

    In answer to your questions:

    1. From what I can work out it will take a good 5 years or so to have the evidence, experience and reputation to get to an AST position. The notion of an AST it seems is going to be eliminated by the current government, but no doubt it will appear in other guises.

    2. I left academia for a number of reasons. Mainly, though I loved my PhD, I was not so enamoured with the project I was on. It was an industrial collaboration, where I wasn’t receiving any resources / samples from my collaborators. It was going nowhere. Also, my wife is a postdoc, and the life of postdoc research is relatively intense, competitive funding-wise, and insecure in terms of genuine career progression. Teaching, especially in a shortage subject like Physics, seemed a much more secure career. Thirdly, I did lots of outreach during my postdoc research with our department’s outreach officer. We visited a number of primary and secondary schools, hosted them at Uni too, and I loved every second of it. It convinced me to go into teaching, and after a lot of debate, the GTP was the preferred route for me over the PGCE. I have no regrets, and do not miss research. I miss my colleagues and office banter, and they have actually been really good in letting me take classes back and use facilites in the last year and a half.

    3. Yes. I have started a bit further up the payscale than most. My perception seems to be if I got a job in an easier school (good/outstanding in a rural area) the chance of an initial payrise would be there, but not that significant. I got a job in an inner-city school in Birmingham, in a shortage subject, and they considered my qualifications, my teaching of undergraduates during my PhD which they deemed relevant, and also doing a GTP as things to boost my starting salary. I haven’t got access to the warwick email address for whatever reason, but please feel free to email me at and I am happy to discuss any questions you have.

    Cheers, Steve

    01 Jan 2012, 20:13

  4. oooh Steve I’d love some advice nearer the time as to which point on the MPS I should haggle for….

    22 Jan 2012, 21:09

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  • Hi Steve I also found the e–assessment day very interesting – though I'd begun reading it up a lot d… by Juliet Nickels on this entry
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