All entries for Saturday 17 September 2011

September 17, 2011

Facing the PGCE Giant

‘Then David took his shepherd's staff, selected five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the pocket of his shepherd's pack, and with his sling in his hand approached Goliath.’ 1 Samuel 17:40 (The Message)

I think I know something of how David felt when he was standing with just a sling and a stone, preparing to face Goliath. An over-statement, perhaps; but I feel uncomfortably ill-equipped to do battle with the challenges that are to face me this year. However, I find encouragement in the notion that David defeated Goliath with determination, faith and a measure of skilful accuracy.

‘The / readiness is all.’ (Hamlet, A5 S2, l.234-237)

If readiness really is all, then I feel I am in for a rough ride. What does it mean to be ready anyway? Do we talk about readiness with regards to subject knowledge, practical experience, and a specific set of skills? Or is it just a state of mind? Perhaps we are never really properly prepared for the task ahead, but we can still achieve great things by storming into situations with a sizable dose of hope, ambition and self belief, catalysed by adrenaline.

‘If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.’ (Isaac Newton)

We have been encouraged during Professional Foundation Week to consider the question “Who or what has brought you to study a PGCE at Warwick?”. For me this is an exercise in identifying the giants in my life; the people who have inspired me, the places that have defined me, and the experiences that have changed me. I hope to eventually be able to stand on the shoulders of these giants so that I might be able to see a little further and become a teacher who is able to improve on what has already been acheived.

‘How are we, never more than the trees that bore the fruit, suddenly to become the gardeners? Just that seems to me the art you must learn, who are actors and workers at the same time.’ (Bertolt Brecht)

The PGCE for me is also a lesson in flying the nest. Here’s me thinking I did that three years ago when I began my undergraduate degree. Now, having graduated and started a new course en route to a career in teaching, it turns out there is a fair bit of growing and flying that still needs to be done. It is time to start cultivating my own future, giving thanks for the nourishment I have already received, but with a sight to take control of my own personal and professional growth here at Warwick.

September 2011

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