All entries for May 2011

May 28, 2011

Or did I?

Perhaps I didn't....

First day of my 'holiday' and I have spent it driving various people to the airport, including the wife, and I am now stuck at home doing work, feeling sorry for myself because my golf game is disintegrating before my eyes, I am left with the possibility of watching the two teams I really dislike in football play a Champions League final Super Frank and JT were destined to win (until we bought Fernando).

Just bear it in mind potential GTP'ers. If you are golfer, practise opportunities go out of the window. And even when you have time, you do not have the energy!

Haha, anyway, have a good half term one and all.


May 27, 2011

The day that confirmed I made the right decision

So, 14 months ago I looked into going into teacher training. I remember the initial emails to Marion. I remember going to a TDA event at the Thinktank in Birmingham. I remember meeting with the Physics department's outreach officer (and now an awesome friend!!). From there some experience was arranged, some questions answered, some fun activities discovered.

14 months later, I believe I am a much better scientist, and have developed my subject knowledge across the board. Learning how to explain things in simple and effective ways has become a really rewarding part of the year. Seeing clarity set in with a student is quality. Imparting wisdom is a great thing, and all of us who are teachers should remember that on a seemingly bad day.

My subject knowledge assessment for Q14 went really well, and my tutor was very positive about my performance in that aspect. I am loving the higher end Physics teaching at GCSE and A-Level, and am actually looking forward to getting more responsibility in this as my career progresses.

So why is me deciding to teach been confirmed as a simply wonderful decision?

Well today, my year 10 double class sat an exam. They are hugely mixed ability, ranging from forecast A-D grades, some doing higher, some doing foundation etc. They have been getting hep up about the exam these last couple of weeks. I spent an hour and a half after school with a few of them, and had the pleasure of a couple of girls waiting for me at school at 7.45 this morning with last minute questions.

I saw them today, and there seemed to be plenty of smiles on their faces. The hard work had somewhat paid off.

Teaching revision-based lessons has been pretty interesting, and it really opens your eyes to the motivation of your students. Those who do not care, really rebel in these lessons: 'we've done this before' 'I prefer to revise from home' etc.... Lots of small activities is essential to keep them involved and somewhat engaged.

Now the real reason it was confirmed was today marked the last day year 11 were in school all together. As a year 11 associate tutor to two form groups, it was a pretty emotional morning. Going between two form 'parties', I was flabbergasted by the reception, the cards, the messages, the Lego and baby-themed presents.... I really have made 56 great friends, and as many of them said, we are a big family. To have so many young people say thank you is unbelievably rewarding, and now I feel gutted I will not see them on a dialy basis next year and years to come. Guess it is a hazard of teaching, form groups will come and go, but the rapport and spirit I have managed to drum up with everyone has been pretty awesome.

I know Chris Caswell said the other week as an NQT we should concentrate on teaching and not be a form tutor, but I cannot imagine being at a school without constant dialogue with a group of students each morning. They all put a smile on my face each day, and hopefully I cheer them up too. My motivational speeches today left many a girl and a few of the lads in tears (picture Independence Day speech, but without the impending death due to alien invasion), and I will miss them all dearly. In this day of child protection and e-safety etc, it is a shame I am unable to provide them with an email address just so they can stay in touch and if they ever need help or advice they could reach me. There are a few budding scientists in there, and I want to make sure they do the best for themselves.

11M and 11Y, should you ever read this; you are all fantastic, wonderfully creative, quirky, funny, and as two groups are bringing a whole lotta good to the world! Stay as you are, stay loyal to your beliefs, strive for your ambitions no matter how imaginative and far fetched they may seem, and you can all remain a little crazy (like me) and still get a long way in life. Look after yourselves and each other, and all make an effort to keep these super friendships going for many, many years to come. (Reunion in 10 years?).

Now to enjoy the half term, with two days of tutoring, and two more days at school doing Easter revision sessions for my year 11s (oh wait, I see a load of them again in 5 days) and my year 12 classes. And then it is my bro's stag do. And I have a nursery to paint, and three golf tournaments to play in, and my final assessment to prepare for.... wowser.... best get to work right now, as it seems I do not really have a holiday.

May 24, 2011

Time flies…..


This study leave period is really doing my nut in. All these frees I have recently acquired make for some very empty and boring days!! They will return post-half-term, so the timetable will pick up again, but AS Physics averages at almost a lesson a day for me over my two week timetable.

My journey to QTS now has confirmed timelines:

Today: Completed my AP3

Friday 27th; Subject Knowledge Q14 assessment.

June 7th: Final assessment

So in two weeks, I guess my journey to become a qualified teacher will almost be over, bar an exam board's decision. It seems to have come around incredibly quickly, yet it has been a pretty intense time. On reflection I have achieved a hell of a lot, and also have participated in a hell of a lot too. So many meetings, so many all nighters, so many practical jokes taking staplers from technicians and leaving ransom notes.....

Tomorrow, I'll be prepping for Friday's Q14 efforts, and polishing of my CEDP. Make sure that is ready by 7th June!

My form group had a rather important GCSE English lit exam today. I feel I am developing a fantastic 'inspirational speech' repetoire now, and I had them all in 'the zone' by ten past nine this morning. I base this psychological enhancement on Cool Runnings.... 'When you look in the mirror, what do you see?'!

To conclude, a big congrats to my fellow GTP, school and department colleague for Shuna for getting a job yesterday, to Gill for becoming a Grandmother recently, and the very best of luck to Barcelona in their quest to smash United 8-0. I'll be Spanish on Saturday.

Keep plugging away people. We're nearly done!

May 21, 2011

The home stretch…..

Right then. Final countdown has begun.

Final assessment is on June 7th. That is 6 teaching days away. In those 6 teaching days, I'll be observed a couple of times and prep three classes for exams. I also have 4 after school revision classes, and I will be doing two full day revision sessions during the half term holiday.

By the end of next week I need to complete my AP3.

By June 7th, I'll need to tidy up my CEDP.

By June 7th, I also need all of my evidence folders up to date, as well as completing the training profile, a PDP and everything else.

At some point, I need to meet with my subject tutor (definitely before June 29th) to get standard 14 ticked off.

All of our University sessions are now complete. I have nothing but fond memories. Gill is awesome!

So, need to knuckle down, and show some enthusiasm, energy, and organisation.

Here we go!

May 14, 2011

The Ups and Downs of the GTP week….

Well, bit of a weird week.

Chelsea failed to turn up at Old Trafford, which put me in a shocking mood at school! I hate all these Man U supporting students! I can't wait for the inner city Birmingham setting next year, full of Blue Noses and Villains.

The week has been very interesting at school within the department, and I really cannot say why in such a public domain. Anyway, my timetable has been changed and I am doing a shed load of year 12 and 13 Physics now (though there is only 2 weeks of year 13 teaching left), and I really love it. Working with moderately intelligent students and better, a fair bit of commitment, and teaching some proper Physics. Big fan. With exam season now in swing, a lot of my classes are into revision mode. Designing lessons to enhance and optimise revision is quite interesting; I am going towards the 'market place' idea, with lots of mini-activities, keeping the students active and engaged. Working ok. With my love for the year 11s as a form tutor in the year group, I have been a big supporter of the science departments revision sessions after school for them. Think I am down for 7 over the coming weeks, with a couple of days at half term in school too. Thing is, I really want to do it. I adore my two form groups and if I can help them and their friends in anyway I am willing to try!

Last week saw me make my debut for the staff cricket team outdoors. After a very promising indoor season (league winners, with me wielding the bat with great success) I was installed at number 3 in the order - Golden Duck! Whoops. I did bowl at the death in a losing situation, and all in all a bad experience. This week's game came along on Tuesday vs Warwickshire County Council Education Dept, the tension in the air was electric with the news Myton was moving to Academy status in the previous days really adding extra needle. I was demoted to number 7 in the order, making a quick fire 1 before being given out lbw for a ball which nearly hit my box. Joke decision! Anyway, our total of 102 was passable as a target.

I was chucked the ball with 7overs left, and the opposition needing 32 to win with 8 wickets left. I bowled through, including the final over, taking 3-16 off my 4 overs and running out a batsman off the final ball who needed a four to win. instead he played a straight (and very firm) drive into my right ankle. The rest they say is history. So a win outdoors, and the next day I felt like I really belonged within the school. As a scientist, we very much stay in Science and rarely interact with other teachers. However, I got two high fives off assistant heads on Wednesday! Boom.

Thursday I went to KESH in Birmingham, the school I have a job at next year, for an AS INSET training day which i arranged to attend. It was awesome actually, and have some quality ideas and resources. I wish I had thought of this stuff earlier in the year, but I will now be ready for next year!

I had standards Q10-21 assessed by Gill on Friday at 8.30am (Alison, you owe me!) and it was a really positive meeting. I do miss our Uni sessions on a Friday actually, and am looking forward now to Thursday for the call back day. The meeting was good, and we seemed to discuss Q10 for most of it, and babies..... Staff football on Friday night, and I scored the winning goal. For the opposition I should add, unavoidable own goal.

Golf today was truly abysmal, and I am considering just chucking my clubs away. It is embarrassing how bad I have got at golf, and it is making me sad!

Hate United. Impressed by Blackpool

Just want to say congrats to my friend Lucy for winning the English Amateur golf title today. Quality!

May 08, 2011

It's all about the money money money

If I hear one more year 7-11 girl sing that song in my lesson..... I'll explode. But it is kinda true for me this week too.

Let's reflect on my week of wisdom impartment on the next generation.

Monday - bank holiday. All my lessons went perfectly. Oh wait, I didn't have any :-) Played golf, and played alright. Dropped off the wife at the airport who was off to Paris for 5 days for a conference. Bad news - I had to cook all week. But in better news I didn't have to feel so guilty about staying up til beyond midnight planning lessons and interrupting her beauty sleep.

Tuesday was a busy day. Totally full. I had planned a little in advance and had booked a couple of computer room based lessons, which were very much student led. I was a tad annoyed with my year 9 class, not with the students, but by English. They have arranged a series of lessons on Shakespeare off timetable, and it seems to interrupt my lesson more than most! Tuesday night (see previous blog) was quality, with our year 11's heading to the Ricoh arena for the Cov Telegraph Cup Final. Had a blast, and I think my behaviour (which was entirely positive by the way) has earned me some serious credibility with the year 11s. The 20+ years of going to Stamford Bridge may have been painful at times, but it sure does prepare you for chanting! I also had my first mentor meeting in a month, due to Easter and an illness, and it was great to have a proper chat with my rather awesome mentor.

Now Wednesday was a funny day. Period 1, awaiting for my 'lovely' year 10s who I was observed with by both my Warwick tutors last term. They are very mixed ability double science set, and their last exam marks range from A*-E. But it is a relatively small class, 18, and we do have a good laugh despite some of he characters in there. However, 9 new people racked up Wednesday, having being moved from triple sets. Thankfully I got an email that lunchtime informing me, 2 and a half hours after the lesson, that I would be getting 9 new people, some of which have exams coming up, and some who do not..... Mind blowing! Only 4 lessons in the day, but I did get a cheeky parents evening to cap it off. Again, was really good fun, and was my 3rd one of the year.

Thursday is my mental day this week. Tutorial, teaching all 5 lessons, break duty and a lunch duty, and after school had an ICT training session for us GTPs. Busy! lessons went pretty well, and I got observed with a year 13 class. Thought it important before they head off an study leave for me to get a few Q14's ticked off doing A-level lessons for my folder of evidence. When I say folder, I mean 300 ring binders. How much stuff do we accumulate?

Friday was good. Only two lessons, a bit of numeracy support was given to a fellow GTP who has their skills test coming up. One of the lessons was with my now 50% bigger year 10 class, who had been a tad naughty the day before with their other teacher. I was a little worried, but my new seating plan worked out ok, and I put a lot of energy in to keep them onside. A few bad jokes and my ability to make analogue to digital an exciting topic later, I was really happy with the relationship we struck up and the positive ethos and banter in the room! Week finished with a year 12 pub quiz (done in a lab (oh, don't give year 12's caffeiene, they go crazy)), picking up the wife from Brum airport, and then seeing John Bishop. He was rather funny.

So all about the money, money, money? Well it was a financially beneficial week for me I must say. I have been struggling to be honest on the GTP wage compared to where I was at before, with my expensive hobbies, paying the mortgage etc. Petrol has been a killer for me, as I have a round 40 mile trip each day to and from Myton. To keep on top of it, I have started doing some tutoring. Having joined a website, I have actually been inundated with requests to help with AS Physics in particular. I guess there are not many physicists about, well I am the only left on the GTP course at Warwick. That fact also has helped me with my salary next year at my new job. I guess I impressed at interview, as the starting salary I am getting was a rather pleasant surprise, and I am also getting a retainer at the end of each year too subject to satisfactory improvements being observed. With a baby on the way, I was pretty thrilled with that too. And I also received confirmation I would be receiving some money from Myton for a couple of revision days I did with my year 12s over Easter out of the kindness of my heart.

Enough about me, it is time to focus on Chelsea. One of my best days at University was in my first term in first year. So probably end of November, start of December 2001. We were away v Man U, and I watched it in the Airport bar at Warwick. As it was 2001, pre-Abramovich, Ranieri in charge, I was possibly one of only 4 Chelsea supporters at Warwick, and I was certainly the only on watching it on the big screen at the Airport bar. The place was packed, with Man U's usual eclectic fanbase from across the world represented (none from Manchester mind), they were treated to a feast of footballing brilliance. 3-0 to the Chels, I may have had a few choice words to say to a few of those Man U fans, my one man singing army was a joy to my ears. Anyway, I will be delighted if that could be replicated today.

Everyone keep trucking, if you had Q10-21 last Friday, hope it went well, if it is this or next Friday (I'm 8.30am this Friday) lets all nail it! I look forward to seeing Gill again!

Stevo x

May 03, 2011

Term 3, wowser


I have at least one follower from Scotland reading this blog now!

Term 3 has a-started, and it is good to be back. Glad the Masters is out of the way and I can just concentrate on teaching and compiling evidence. Need to get ready for 13th May and my hot date with Gill at 8.30am to discuss those cheeky standards of Q10-21 (I've nailed Q16 so I am happy with that!).

I have been given a lot of A-level commitment this term, and I am really enjoying the responsibility. There are a few characters in my year 12 class, who do the sciences at AS-level, and my views of them are totally conflicting to what I am hearing from other teachers. Whether my approach is a tad more laid back, and I just give as a good as they get in certain circumstances I do not know. But they are getting on great with me and we're all making sound progress towards the June exams. I am hosting a 'pub quiz' on Friday for them as a revision exercise before a mock exam next Tuesday, they seem excited by that.

Over the Easter break, I did 3 sprint finish sessions, one at GCSE and two at AS level. These are sessions for students in old Warwick town to attend should they wish. It was three great days (though my car engine caught fire on the way home from the first one), and I absolutely loved doing it. I have also discovered a cheeky money making exercise through private tutoring. £25 an hour, and I am turning customers away! Really helps top up that low wage we get.

Anyway, hope everyone is well, and due to the new and improved harassment and bullying legislation in place, I have no witty remarks whatsoever to say about anyone.

Oh, year 11 football team at Myton did the school very proud tonight at the Ricoh arena in the Cov Telegraph Cup final. Though they lost 1-0, they were the superior team in every department bar the goals scored stat. And Ed Smith, should you ever read this, I do love you!

Oh, and I have 5 lessons tomorrow, and due to my incessant chanting, I have no voice. Whoops.

Oh, and one of them is being observed. Whoops.

Oh, and Chelsea are marching on towards the title. Wooooooooo!

Oh, in sad news, I predicted exactly zero correct results in my prediction based competition I have with some friends this Sunday night, where we make predictions on the winners of bouts at every WWE pay-per-view event. Just a real ball-buster that one. Was gutted! I'll be back though Yatesy with top marks next time.

Have a top week, Steve x

May 2011

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