All entries for December 2010

December 28, 2010

Aussies wish they had the Trotts

It really has been a time for emphatic highs, and near-death lows. This Christmas holiday has enabled me to watch all the current Ashes test match, which quite frankly has been a wonderful sporting spectacle. Test match cricket is a little like teaching. Careful planning, meticulous preparation, showing discipline and understanding of what your role is within the team, and knowing that if you make a mistake, if your concentration lapses, it can have a knock-on effect on the rest of the match / lesson. Now those poor Aussies had a stinker first up. Their starter went on too long, the kids lacked the necessary instruction, the teacher thrashed their bat about wildly trying to gain the upper hand in a losing situation but only made things worse. 98 all out is, I guess, equivalent to turning up to a lesson, forgetting your memory stick with your powerpoint on, the projector not working, a kid setting a bunsen burner on fire, and a recreation of the 2010 Royal Rumble.

Well thankfully I'm not an Aussie. If Ricky Ponting was in my class, he'd be off to the Parking Zone! I have a wonderful role model in Warwickshire's very own Johnathon Trott to guide me through this training year. Get in a bubble, identify your strengths (flick through mid-wicket anything on the stumps) and play to them. So I guess I'm quite imaginative, so by damn I'm gonna let it run wild next term when planning. I can also be quite dramatic, use this to engage. My explanations are usually pretty good, so keep working on them - relate stuff to the student's own experiences.

Regardless, even if I fail this GTP, at least we've retained the Ashes (I'm confident we'll take 4 wickets in two days!).

The lows I mentioned... that riff raff I've loved through thick and thin for 25 years. What were Chelsea doing last night. Bewildering. I felt like that at the end of a full days teaching this term where my standard of teaching, and my energy levels, sequentially lowered as each hour passed. I was drained watching that palava last night.

But on the plus side, Santa did bring me a NEW printer and laminator, so I can now lie in til 6.20am on a school day safe in the knowledge I can make my resources at home instead of silly am before school! Get in Santa. Is it the law that as soon as you become a teacher one's present sack will be brimming with ill-fitting shirts and awkward looking ties blessed (?) with a colour reminiscent of the small intestines of a road kill badger? Well I hope this year is the exception not the rule!

I have started to do a little bit of work today: filled in days and dates in my teaching planner, woo! Not a lot of planning to do really as I have no timetable for my complimentary school yet. I am led to believe I'll be running a lot of year 11 revision classes as they will have exams come January 19th. Its a different exam board at Perry Beeches compared to Myton, but I'm ready and prepared for it. Really looking forward to complimentary placement. I am going to be doing my Masters research there; the plan is to start it (topic is peer assessment) as soon as I take over a class. I don't know the kids, so I'll let them judge how they think their class mates are doing instead.

Anyway I have to go. A turkey based meal is awaiting. Hope you have all had a great Christmas and continue to enjoy the holidays. x

December 13, 2010

Complimentary, my dear Watson

So visited my complimentary school last week, sandwiched between an expensive visit to the dentist and my meeting with Gill. Moderately excited that Paul plays golf at Broadway, I will have to befriend the enemy Core tutor as I am quite a fan of that golf course stemming back to my junior days!

Anyway, my complimentary school was indeed contrasting.

New building, compared to my school's somewhat dilapidated exterior.

Security on the gate.

Less than half the number of kids.

18 less staff in the science department.

And apparently the most improved school in the country!

Having spent a couple of hours there on Friday, I am really excited to be heading to Perry Beeches come January. There was a really good atmosphere about the place, the headteacher makes himself known and present, the staff seemed surprisingly relaxed (compared to the stresses at my placement school) and all were incredibly friendly. The dynamic of a much smaller science department will be interesting indeed. Guess it means I'll be more on the front line, as there isn't anyone else to hide behind. Tutors there seem fantastic. The cake I had in the prep room was lush.

One thing that doesn't change is that the Scientists stick together, forming their own staff room. Love that. Too good for the rest of these teachers :-)

All in all, a positive experience, and I liked it that much I am going back on Wednesday to see some lessons.


Chelsea are back, by the way. We'll beat these, we're better than these!

December 08, 2010

It's Blog O'Clock


Its ok, I'm am not dead yet (to quote some Spamalot). I am aware a couple of people have rang my parents saying 'he's not posted something in 9 days on his blog, is he dead?'. Well I am alive.


So today I had 4 out of 5 lessons, yesterday I taught allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll day. Last night I hit the proverbial wall. Throat was sore, totally knackered another 4 lessons to sort out for today...... Wowser.

Then Mrs Thompson saved my life.

I've been getting better at planning lessons, making sure I have a starter, a plenary, some activities. What I am finding is my lessons, as they come in their sack full during this week of my unbalanced two week timetable, lack imagination. They become very much teacher-led activities (mentioned in my internally observed lesson evaluation last week) and I haven't promoted independent learning. My earlier lessons when I was a lot less experienced, were so much better. I had the time to think about the topic, get some good visual aids, think of analogies, design a nice practical, find a cool simulation, create some role play to stimulate the imagination. My routine however was becoming predictable. My energy levels have dipped. Getting to school an hour early to fit in resource making time is a killer, hopefully over time I'll get my own classroom, my own collection of resources.

Anyway, back to Mrs Thompson. She is a teacher I am with for a year 8 class, and she is in with me for 2 lessons out of 5 over two weeks with my lovely, but boisterous, year 7s. Between school and 6.30pm last night, with her by my side, we had planned 4 lessons, sorted out the resources, printed them off and prepared them. We had made the slideshows, found nice videos, devised some cool activities that were student led..... It was awesome. It really is easier to plan lessons as a pair; having someone to bounce ideas off, especially someone familiar with the kids you are about to teach, makes it; a) more fun, b) more productive, c) more fulfilling and d) more successful.

I headed into today a lot more clear in my mind what I was achieving, and personally 3 of the 4 lessons went to plan. One lesson I did lose my flow, but do you know what? Mrs Thompson saved the day with a quick reminder to help me along :-)  Guessw the other thing we should all do as GTPs is use the teacher in their with us. Perhaps not for an observed lesson, but generally, two pairs of hands, two voices, two pairs of eyes, much better!!

Initial complimentary placement visit on Friday. Off to Perry Beeches in Brum. Looking forward to it!

See you GTP-ites (or is it GTPons, or GTPians, perhaps GTPish??) in 2011!!

December 2010

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