All entries for November 2010

November 29, 2010

Mad week!


Well it transpires I haven't been able to record a blog entry in 1 week. What the? Flaming work is getting in the way, and I want to reflect god dammit! My angle of incidence hasn't always equalled my angle of reflection in the last 7 days, but it has certainly been a crazy week, and one from which I have learned a lot.

On reflection, I can conclude the following.....

1. Next year will be easier than this one.

2. A full day of teaching is knackering. Make sure you have plenty to drink when you get the opportunity.

3. A well prepared and planned lesson goes much smoother than one you've thrown together the night before. However, that rather mean dimension of time, which refuses to stand still, will not allow us to prepare thoroughly all the time, so at some point, accept what you have done and move on.

4. Year 7's are hilarious.

5. I love my year 10 BTEC class, formerly known as 'nightmares'.

6. The Myton staff indoor cricket have stormed to title glory with a 1 run victory over Trinity - moral of the story, never give up (we were dead and buried with 3 overs left!)

7. I am happy with my MA topic of Peer Assessment (decided on Friday). Look forward to doing a bit of research on it.

8. I need to maintain professionalism at all times. Upset a fellow staff member last week (my mentor infact) through the medium of cheeky sarcasm (me, sarcastic? :-) ). It's all sorted now mind!

9. Chelsea are pants. Hate this.

10. There are times when workload beats you up. I found it best to take a step back, have a break, and go back to it. Writing lesson plans and evaluations, sorting slides out, resources, marking, uni essays.... Prioritize. Thankfully, some of the teachers in with me realized I wasn't as prepared as per usual and helped with the lessons instead of giving me full reign as I have had for the last couple of weeks or so.

11. I'm dreading 20+ lessons in a week. 14 in 4 days were more than enough!

12. Snow is ruining my hopes for some golf time. Just inconsiderate.

13. Still have no clue as to where my complementary placement is. Perhaps nobody wants me? Wouldn't blame them to be honest.

Anyway, need to go away and work on my lessons on waves, light, hippos, catalysts, electrolysis, parallel circuits and circular motion.

Oh and sort a plasterer for my kitchen ceiling. Bathroom getting done = burst pipe = ruined kitchen. All in all, a pretty good Saturday! At least the England top order showed more backbone than the plasterboard

Have a good week,


November 22, 2010

Need to do some humming tomorrow, get ready for the day ahead!

To quote the 1996 US President, Thomas Whitmore:

'Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. "Mankind." That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it's fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom... Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution... but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: "We will not go quietly into the night!" We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!'

There may be some who think that in 1996, Bill Clinton was living it up in the White House. However, this is not the case. They made a documentary and everything about this guy Whitmore, who along with a couple of clever chaps, saved us all from 'annihilation'. Come to think of it, there was a guy who flew planes/UFOs, who looked remarkably like Will Smith. And another geezer, who was influential in how to destroy the aliens, who had an uncanny resemblance to actor Jeff Goldblum.....

But what has this got to do with teaching? Well tomorrow is close, and it represents the 'first full day'. teaching every lesson, meeting before and after school, break duty, and badminton club during lunch. It all seems a bit daunting. But not so bad that I've found the time to write this instead of preparing more resources...... As President Whitmore said, 'We're going to live on!'

Hope everyone is having a good week.

Deega, Wiggy, Pebs, Alex and Jim, you are not forgotten

November 19, 2010

Cinderella ella ella ella ey ey

Well I think this week I have worked for £4.57 per hour.....

Not sure when I last blogged, no doubt it was an epic read full of hilarity and insightfulness. This is a reflection of the last two days....

So Thursday, I think, represented my first really proper day as a full on teacher. Year team meeting prior to school, then I was taking registration with my awesome form group. Lesson 1 I was teaching some year 8's, space exploration was the topic. Lesson 2 was A-level intervention. Lesson 3 I was teaching year 9's, and was observed by my Warwick subject tutor. Lunch and lesson 4 was the debrief, with lesson 5 seeing me take over my new year 7 class for the first time, teaching them circuits! Galaxy Minstrels really won them over. After school I was on the GCSE revision class rota, with 5 very hard-working girls, and 4 boys.... All this was completed wearing 'all black, with a splash', a science department team building exercise. My splash of colour was my bright yellow shoes I own. Went down a storm! Was a good little exercise, all bar one remembered to do it! The day was rounded off with a Dominos Pizza in the staff room followed by going to the school's production of Cinderella, starring quite a few of my form group. I was so proud :-) It was pretty hilarious, and I was really impressed with the effort put in by all the students and staff involved.

Going back to my observed lesson, I think the best part of it, which perhaps I have been poor at previously, was being able to evaluate what I did, and what went well and what I would aim to improve. It was unanimous that an explanation I did between me, my subject mentor, and tutor, that an explanation I gave of the experiment I set the class, was too quick, but I was able to identify the problem quite soon into the practical and correct the misconceptions. I did get some very good ideas from my debrief, about trying to draw on the class' emotions and make them realise how useful this information is I am giving them, and how it is applicable to everyday life. Also I was made aware I should not make a practical more different than it has to be. I will consider that in the future!

Today's session at Warwick was cool. Made a poster of a SHEEP, and also did a bit of acting and poetry. Just a standard day of Core training!

Have a good weekend.

November 16, 2010

Thank you Lord for the invention of De–Icer

Coming live, from the Myton Science FAC OFF, on this slightly foggy, chilly, grey, depressing Tuesday morning.....

I'm feeling rather jolly. Worked pretty hard yesterday, but I've churned out half a dozen lesson plans during the day and evening, and have come up with a scheme of work for my year 7 class to teach them circuits. Here, they squeeze KS3 into years 7 and 8, so I have 6 lessons to teach the topic instead of the recommended 10 or so. And of course there is the real issue of working out what they already know. The class have come from 10 different primary schools so they will have potentially very different experiences and understanding. Lesson 1 will be completely based on finding out what they know. Then we'll go from there.

Also got my plans together for my Thursday observation now, which is good I guess. Will eb practicing the demos and experiments in my weekly mentor meeting tonight. These meetings are becoming a lot more practical based, doing different experiments to improve my repetoire and understanding of certain topics. If you are struggling for things to discuss, I'd recommend looking at specific lesson plans / experiments etc and getting advice from your mentor. They've no doubt taught it a 100 times before, so we may as well use that resource of knowledge and experience?

This Thursday, along with my observation and debrief session, includes the first time I would have solo taught 4 lessons in a day. Guess this will be my first real glimpse/indication into the highs and lows of full time fully-qualified teaching. And that will be followed by a GCSE revision class I'll be doing (my turn on the rota) and then the school production of Cinderella, starring half of my form group. Should be a quality day?!?

Ok, I'm off to find Frank Lampard and sort out his leg injury. We miss him badly...... I miss him badly :-)

November 13, 2010

Week 8, a potted history

Well, a crazy week indeed.

Loads of work, lots of fun, lots of learning, and the first time I've really felt adequately prepared to teach.

My first official Warwick lesson observation went well, and it has given me quite a bit of belief (and relief), and my workload is mounting up in terms of the lessons I am delivering. Due to unfortunate circumstances, I am currently delivering lessons on my own for a couple of classes of mine now. To be honest though, I really like it, and have a feeling I can really put my own stamp and style on the teaching. Music is turning out to be a quality bargaining tool; 'work well for 15 minutes year 8's and perhaps I'll play you a tune....' Works a treat.

Due to my weird timetable, I've got a relatively relaxed weekend. A bit of golf, Jimmy Carr at the Arts Centre, Chelsea match... all will be enjoyed due to me having only one lesson on Monday. Sweet as.

Thursday, my subject tutor is in to observe me, so that is my main focus for the week. Not sure why, but I am quite worried! Think I played my jacket potato card a bit early....

It was good to be back at Warwick yesterday, first time in 3 weeks, I was starting to get a rash from the withdrawal symptoms. Needless to say, having nearly been run over by Alison before the core session, I did wonder why I thought I was missing it?! Well I hope you have all been practising those deep breaths and hums this morning, warming up those vocal folds. I've never sang so beautifully.... I quite enjoyed hearing everyone do a 'couple of lines of teaching' to showcase our voices, there are certainly a couple of people I'd really like to see teach on the back of that alone. 'And Harold moved up from the South all the way up to the North!' Class.

Have a good weekend, I already am (thanks to my golf clubs, Villa and Stoke City so far)


November 10, 2010

So I filmed myself baking a potato…..

Had my first formal observation today from someone from the Warwick brigade. They were rather complementary. My lesson had a bit of everything I guess; mini-whiteboards, cooking , using my mobile phone to ring the class teacher, videos of me baking a potato in an oven, balloon animals, a DVD rack, pineapples, bread, a trip in a lift, metal and plastic sheets, and even a bit of work for the kids too. And I didn't get time to play with the chocolate and marshmallows......

I was having a chat with a friend the other day who teaches, and tried to persuade me that I should stick to my guns and teach how I want to, develop my own styles, and try not to be moulded into a typical teacher expected at a given school. So far I am just trying to get my ideas across in my own way, which mainly involves a little light comedy, me showing myself up, and, almost on the sly, getting the lesson content across. I think teaching is a lot more fun if you adopt a persona you are comfortable with. I am pretty relaxed

Positives from today were based on my lesson structure and variety of activities, my demonstrations and explanations of the microwave kit I was using, and the general feeling the class left having met the objectives I set. I was given a couple of hours to reflect on the lesson before getting my debrief (spent teaching a year 8 class then running badminton club at lunchtime...) which was good. Though it is amazing how little I seemed to remember! I was told it would have ranked as a 2 with bits of 1 as a lesson, though in all honesty I reckon that's a tad generous. It became abundantly clear there are still a million things I can do to make the lessons better during my debrief.

My agreed action points to work on are: Target questions at individuals. And work on class discipline at the very start of my lesson. Oh, and have some further work available if some complete tasks very quickly.

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with how it went.

Unlike Sunday's football. Jane Freshwater, if you see me on Friday and you have a smug look on your face........ :-(

Well, I'd also quickly like to reflect on how much work I now seem to have!!!! This is becoming a 7am-midnight job. 12am-6am = sleep. 6am-6.20am is wake up shower and change, 6.20am = breakfast, 6.30am = sky sports news (1 loop), 7am = teeth, hair, pack car and drive off..... (repeat)

See y'all on Friday. It has been so long!

November 05, 2010

Primary visit

I'm at my primary school placement right now. It has been extremely informative, and the staff at Coten End have been unbelievably helpful. I have been extremely impressed with the levels of communication between here and Myton, the data that is passed on, and the effort both parties go to getting all the relevant information required to get provisions in place for all those that need it.

It is assembly time right now, so me and JC are just starting to do some work on our assignments whilst it is still fresh. Our interview with the deputy head produced about 1000 words on its own.... 500 words isn't enough Warwick! I think this day is a great addition to our GTP training, though dare I say it, it might be nice to spend a bit more time in a primary school environment, perhaps get the GTPs to go to local schools later in the year and do a bit of teaching? Any thoughts? I did a lot of Outreach work last year with my Physics sister Ally, and we always had a blast at the primary schools. Enthusiasm is abound!

I'm loving the reaction from the Chelsea-supporting kids to my Chelsea lunchbox, and they all love my Lego watch.

On reflection..... Primary school teaching would have been great I reckon.....


November 03, 2010

What not to wear?

Have you ever noticed guys, that the female members of staff at school can wear pretty much anything? There we are, constantly in a battle with the iron on a Sunday getting 5 shirts to look crisp and smart, looking for a tie that remotely coordinates with them, identifying your least dirty pair of trousers, trying to find 10 socks that match up into 5 pairs, polishing those shoes..... And those women eh? Wander round in whatever!! I mean, I've got a fantastic Chelsea shirt collection I can showcase, with every shirt we've had since 1988, and a collection of vintage shirts from the 70's too.

So join me brothers, I am launching a campaign! Let the male teachers wear what they want, and female teachers shirts and ties!!


November 02, 2010

Stay Classy

In the words of one of my heroes, Ron Burgundy, 'By the beard of Zeus'. I am using this phrase, its meaning being one of great surprise, to be applied to the day.

Now lets start with the positives so far today. I took a double A-level lesson first thing today, teaching them the finer things of Mr Young and why he decided to divide two tensile measurements with each other (stress / strain for those who are lost at thos point). It went well. We had a DJ station to keep the morale high during the practical, and I think they appreciated the lengths I went to to explain all the fundamentals which they seem to have been introduced to, but not necessarily understood. In conclusion, they all have found out the Young's Modulus of Copper is BIG! Now as good as this was, it was a shame of the circumstances how it came about I'd be teaching. In that I was 'asked' to do the lesson when it became clear the teacher couldn't make it. I did not feel I could say no. I can say however I did get a lot of resources to help me prepare for it yesterday.

The week so far has certainly seen the super from super-numery disappear. Am on 'covers' a lot the next two days within science, to compensate for sicknotes, illness and school trips. Calling me 'cover', despite some of the lessons being with classes I am timetabled too, apparently means there is no need to provide a second teacher within the room. So guess will see how that goes. Got my weekly subject mentor meeting in 30 minutes, I'll raise my points there. My mentor is amazing so I am happy she'll have my back if needed!

Another positive from today. Tuesday lunchtime badminton club. Absolutely brimming, and I think the kids are enjoying seeing me act the fool and my relaxed side, whereas in the classroom I am of course a disciplinarian and demand total silence... oh wait, that's not true. It is a good laugh, and is giving me a chance to chat to a lot of pupils, boys and girls, yr 7 to yr 11, in a more relaxed way. I'm getting a lot more 'Hi Sir's than usual now, and the badminton club keeps on growing. 30 turned up today. We'll see how many more tomorrow night.

And in my BTec lesson just, I finally got a good hour's work from the class clown. Their middle name is probably 'Disruption'. But yep, sat him in the corner, where I could do quite a bit of one-to-one work but keep an eye on the class. Worked well.

And where I come from, we love a bit of that.

November 01, 2010

Guess who's back? No, it's not Slim Shady

Mornin all,

So I decided, on the basis of the recommendations from the guest speaker at our last trip to Warwick, to do absolutely nothing over half term and just chill.

  • Of course, there was those two assignments for University I did on the first Saturday of the holiday (well it's better than listening to Wagner isn't it?). As an aside to that, how the devil are you meant to keep those assignments to 500 words?? I can't, that's for sure.
  • Then there was those couple of cheeky lesson plans I snuck in on Wednesday (well it's better than painting the new garden shed is it not?)
  • Got those TDA skills test done on Thursday too. Passed them all which was nice (Q16 achieved). Was a little disappointed I couldn't take in a drink or anything with me. But the Solihull centre staff were a good laugh if nothing else. One quick bit of advice, just do a practise IT one on the website to get to grips with it, and once you know what's what, it really is self-explanatory.
  • Saturday provided a night of watching football (Spanish football, Football First, Match of the Day, Football League Show) and doing another couple of lesson plans. That means I was now ready for this week ahead.
  • Sunday, well I did send a bucket load of emails out trying to rearrange my primary school visit as my original placement was cancelled. Boo to that.

So yeah, was extremely successful in chilling all week. But what I'd like to say in a reflective tone is, I really don't mind doing it. It is actually fun, and I am really enjoying it. Even got to school this morning extra early because of the excitement, not because I set my alarm for 5.10am instead of 6.10am.....

I did manage a visit to Stamford Bridge, 4 rounds of golf (some of it good, some of it bad) and a couple of nights out. So it wasn't a total workfest!

And yes, the shed is painted.

And yes, Chelsea are coasting to the title.

And I love that.

November 2010

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