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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.

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