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August 26, 2011

TIP NUMBER 1 – Push to be a form tutor


So I will quickly compile my recommendations for how to maximise your GTP experience.

Without a doubt, being a form tutor / associate form tutor is an amazing thing to do. It really helped me to settle in to a routine each day, get to know a class, and gives you ample opportunity to meet a shed load of the standards. Intervention, dealing with personalised issues, finding solutions, PSHE, working with other staff members etc. You get to grips with school policy much quicker. And even more importantly, if you fall on your feet like I did with the 55 tutees I had over two groups, you quickly gain some allies in the school who will back you up and spread the gospel of how cool you are. At least that's what I think they did. Getting to know a bunch of students well as a tutor is awesome, and though the contrast from going from year 11 associate tutor during my GTP to a year 7 tutor at my new school is large, I feel prepared and excited. Things go well at my new school, I could see this year 7 form grow up throughout their secondary school career, and I could potentially be their one constant throughout their school life. Massive responsibility. I am thankful for my complimentary placement, where I was actually assigned to a year 7 form group, so I have a few weeks experience of how it should roll. I find out more about it next Thursday.

There is one draw back, I adore the tutees I had, and will now miss them. I am a bit sad not to have the chance to teach those staying to do A-Level Physics. Still it was great to see them today as they collected their GCSE results. Oh wait, I didn't.

So last week I missed seeing the year 12s and 13s get their results (mainly wanted to go to convince the year 12s to stick with Physics into A-Level) due to an unscheduled visit to a local hospital. But today, nothing was in my way. Except Kwik Fit. Currently, we're a one-car family, and its MOT was Wednesday. It failed, like me inmy French GCSE. After a number of repairs, it wasn't quite done last night. 'It'll be completed first thing in the morning.' Now this garage was 3 miles away, and was effectively a 50 minute walk away. Opening at 8.30am, I set off from my house at 8am, so I could collect it at 9am. I arrived, Icould see the car, still raised on a ramp. Waiting in reception, I settled down and played poker on my phone. After 30 mins, someone finally entered reception, 'how long will the Corsa be?' '2 hours'. '*&&(( %^%$££* )*^^*( )(*?>:L' was my reply.

So a cab and a bus got me to Brum International station, missing the direct train to Leam by 1 minute. Students collecting their results from 10-12, it was already 10.15..... I thought a train to Cov and a quick change to Leam there. So I did it. Got to Coventry station at 10:26. The hourly train to Leamington was at 25 past the hour it transpired. I was gutted. 59 minutes later I jumped on a train (next bus was 10 minutes and a 44 minute journey, and taxis quoted me £28-35), and finally got to Myton for 11.59am. All students been and gone.

In summary, I felt pretty pants after that. But, I am glad I felt pants, as my anguish was only cus I wanted to see how the wonderful 11M and Y had done, along with GCSE groups I taught. And they had done brilliantly too. I have no way of contacting them to say awesome job boys and girls, hopefully they sensed my vibe!!

My hard working girls did awesomely, Myton published their top 10 sets of results on a press release. 5 were in my form, including two of the three straight A*s. So proud! I saw how hard they worked for their grades, staying after school every night for some revision or enrichment session, and both of them were logged onto my Physics Q&A forum group the night before their exam way past midnight. Rachel and Melissa, big hand.

Thoroughly deserved, and I am stoked about it. Also by Physics results generally. Beat Chemistry and Biology, and had more A*s than any other subject, along with 100% C and above. I put a lot of effort in with revision sessions over Easter and half term in May, along with after school classes. I am sure that contributed to the success in some way.

But yeah, GTP'ers of 2011/12, ask to get involved with a form group if you are not already. That is tip number 1!!

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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