November 16, 2011

What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger

Quick blog entry for reflections on a really really bad lesson that I just had. Thinking of stuff I could have done that I didn't. Feeling absoultely horrible so this blog might sound slightly depressing.

I had been working on this lesson for approximately 2 weeks now (no joke!) Spent half an hour last night cutting bits of paper out for a card sort activity, which I didn't end up doing in the end. Revised the lesson plan thrice. Really had everything organised. One thing I failed to take in account of how the students would behave with me doing the full lesson for the first time. Having done a rather pleasant Yr.9 lesson yesterday, I must admit I wasn't expecting this at all.

On previous occasions, this class had been really well behaved and I have fondly spoken of them to my friends and family, naming it 'my favourite class'. It is really heart breaking.

I was really really dissapointed with the way they behaved. Even the good ones, woudn't stop talking. In a class of 20, I had to end up taking in 10 of their planners as a warning. And had to finally give someone a C1 till they behaved a lil bit well.

I think what I should have done is ,when I took in the first planner, should have warned them all that if you speak again, I am going to have to give you a C1. Should have done that the very first planner that I took in.

I have a massive headache now and just want to go home. lol

I guess I just need to learn from this and set my rules at the start of the lesson rather than inventing them along the way.


October 15, 2011

End of week 5.. reflections

After procastinating for five weeks, here's my first "reflective" blog. Just like my fellow PGCE trainees I have come to really hate that word 'reflection', mostly because it has been way over used. That aside, the main reason I am finally starting this blog is because I feel extremly guilty about having wasted my day, doing literally nothing. Well, I did go to Specsavers but that doesn't count. I am hoping to do weekly reflections from now on, but let's see how that goes.

Here goes.....my thoughts on the journey so far.

WEEK 1

I moved into a wrong room because I'm just too silly and mainly because WARWICK gave me a key that didn't work!!!! So, the first day I moved to Leamington was spent in getting to and from the university house and moving things into my room, TWICE! Having moved out of my parental home for the first time and never having spent more then 5 days away from my little sister, it was definitely one of the weirdest week of my life.

Having come straight out of university with nothing but 15 days of SAS in secondary school and tutoring here and there for experience, I was finally here training to be a science teacher. Everybody seemed more prepared, more experienced, more confident than I was. Pair that with the amount of information we got given the first week, I was completely overwelmed, homesick and lost.

My very nice housemates and all the other lovely science trainees I have got to know, were very supportive and by the end of the week I definitely felt better than I did at the start. But I was still dreading the 37 weeks I still had left....

WEEK 2

The only thing I remember from this week was going into the EP school, which I absolutely loved. Being in a school environment made me feel alot more relaxed and comfortable compared to being at university. I got to the school about 5 mintues late, because I got lost, which is nothing new because I always get lost. When I got lost inside the school again on my 5th week , my EP co-ordinator suggested me to have a internalised GPS system installed, which I will do as soon as such a device is invented. The school I was in was felt very homely the students were extremly polite and held the doors for us. That is all I can remember from my second week.

WEEK 3

The very confusing timetable on the web says we had 3 subject studies sessions that week. I remember having a lot of fun in the chemistry session and being extremly baffled during the physics one. Physics has never made sense to me and the mere thought of having to teach physics, scares the hell out of me. The length of the lessons and the lack of any biology was definitely a letdown but I did really enjoy the mini teach anything you want to two other trainees session we had. I did mine on the hand signals used in Cricket. If there is anything I love more than my siblings, food, genetics, sleep, the internet and watching TV series, it has to be cricket (minus the test matches)! While doing this task I realised how comfortable I felt talking about it, because I loved it and felt passionate about it. If I can exhibit the same passion when I am teaching, I beleive I will be able to get through to the pupils. This revelation ( I do love exagerrating) made me feel so much more confident and for the first time I couldn't wait to start my PP1 and finally start teaching.

WEEK 4

THE EP observation week !!! Really enjoyed this week. Saw many interesting lessons, a few extremly good ones too. One in particular caught my attention, I am no Ofsted but I could tell it was an outstanding lesson. The teacher led most of the lesson by asking questions, one after another & the kids loved it. They loved answering the questions and getting praises and being challenged. I got a chance to observe another lesson by the same teacher, a Yr.9 this time, and it was similar. There were lots and lots of questions from the teacher and lots and lots of answers from the students.

On day 3, we had college day and our house colour was green so in my very potter-head I was a Slytherin. Woudn't it be interesting if schools actually called their houses - Gryfinndor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. I woudn't want to be in Hufflepuff for sure. Back to the college day, they had to make different items of clothing and kitchen utensils out of recycled items. It was vertical tutouring and a Yr.7 came up with the idea of making a mug from a coffee tin, and we made it together and it turned out quite nice. The tutor was very happy and proud and everytime someone walked into the door, she showed them the mug, to which the Yr.7 would scream "My Idea!". He did that atleast 20 times or more. I am sure he had a very good day and rest of the week. The next day in tutor time, when I asked him if he had invented anything else, he told me he had been thinking and had alot of ideas. It is amazing how a small praise or encouragement can mean so much to the students. If he ever becomes an inventor, I am sure this day will have a role to play in his success.

The last day of the week was spent in a Primary School, which I did enjoy but secondary is definitely the better option for me.

Oh and I went back home for the weekend and eating proper food was heavenly.

WEEK 5

This brings me to the past week, where I visited my PP1 school for the first time. I met my subject mentor earlier that week and an enormous tension of 'OMG! what if she's so scary' went away completely. She was absolutely lovely and comforting. I felt extremly happy and relieved that I even updated my facebook status saying ''... is happy''.

Then came friday - I visited my PP1 school for the first time. It was hugeeee compared to my EP school and my lack of ability to navigate I am sure will get me into trouble. But so far, so good. I did manage to speak to a Yr.10 who told me about the 4 career options she had in mind - 1) tatoo artist 2)photographer 3) Disability nurse 4) Counselor. She also expressed the feeling that she may not be able to consider the last two options because that would mean she would need to go to university which was too expensive. I told her she would get student loan and that going to university would be a great experience and she shouldn't worry about the money as you can pay the loan off slowly. I am not sure she was completely reassured and I just think its sad that some students will have to skip going to university because of the unreasonable amount of fees. I should have told her nursing was government funded, it totally skipped my mind. May be that would have made her feel better. I saw some really difficult lessons, with alot of behaviour issues. This scared me endless because behaviour management has always been my worst fear. I kept wondering whether I would be able to deal with all that. It made me nervous. Suddenly, excitement of starting my PP1 was replaced by fear.

However, on the way back home something happened that changed the whole ting around. I got the good news that the girl I had been tutouring over the summer for her 11+ exams had passed and would be going to grammar school in september. This filled me with so much joy, it is hard to explain. All the credit goes to her, she was an incredibly smart pupil but knowing that I have a role to play, however small that might have been, in her success was a great feeling. This is the moment when it all came back to me, when I was reminded again why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place. We get an oppurtunity every minute of working day to make a difference and change someone's life. We will have a role to play in every one of our student's success stories. And all the endless worrying and long hours spent planning our lessons will all be worth it. I know it sounds cheesy, but I believe it is true. I think we all do, that is why we have chosen this profession over everything else.

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The 5 weeks have been scary, exciting, long, quick all at once. It is still a long way to go, and I am sure there will be points where I will curse myself for having chosen to be a teacher. But I am also sure that there will be a number of moments where we will all feel incredibly proud of our students and ourselves. Really looking forward to start teaching, it will be difficult but it will defintely be worth it.


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