The end of the beginning
University observation: done.
PP1: Nearly done.
Now that we are a few weeks in to PP1 I have come to realise what a positive impact the EP setting has had on my ability to get stuck in straight away here. The EP programme has made me so much more comfortable with all the school jargon and made me aware of the members of staff I have needed to make contact with (SENCo, CPO, pastoral managers, exams officers, data collection officers). Because of my lack of prior experience in schools before starting at Warwick I didn't even know these jobs existed! But EP provided a structured environment in which we were introduced to the ins and outs of the school system and this has allowed me to step into PP1 with my eyes wide open. I would have been at quite a disadvantage playing catch up if it weren't for EP. I felt generally positive about my EP experience before we went into PP1, but only now am I seeing the real benefit of it.
The last couple of weeks have felt like a time of real progress for me. I feel like my brain and my body are finally catching up with my daily routine. I have had two very enjoyable weeks with little to complain about other than the usual disruptive pupils, bags under my eyes and the general wintry gloom encroaching on our mornings and evenings. It is now completely dark when I leave the house and even darker when I return. I feel like I only see daylight through classroom windows but I have to say, there is nowhere else I would rather be. In all of this I have realised that this process is all about building stamina and working out how to be as efficient and skilful as I can. I am already so much quicker with lesson planning and much less precious about tiny details that don’t really matter. The OCD monster in me is slowly succumbing to the need to work quickly and confidently. Stressing out about sheets printing out with wonky margins is a thing of the past. I even handed out some resources that weren’t quite cut straight yesterday. Lo and behold, the pupils didn’t notice a thing. Like I said: a time of real progress for me.
So I now have six days of teaching left until Christmas... where on earth has it gone!? It still feels like yesterday that I was stood in reception signing in as a visitor on my initial observation day at my PP1 school. I can officially say I no longer feel like a visitor, even though senior staff members still insist that all PGCE students park in the visitor car park! I have loved getting stuck-in with school life and I will be extremely sad to leave. It has given me a taste for what my future might look like and I have to say, I am very excited. School musicals, bad talent shows, staff briefings, quiz championships, parents evenings, lunchtime rehearsals, detentions, CPD, department meetings... I think I love it all. I am realising what a teaching geek I have turned out to be. If you had asked me six weeks ago “Are you a teacher or a student?” I would have had to answer student. But now I feel like I have properly stepped into my shiny shoes and got into my teaching stride. Something has changed, for the first time in my education I don’t feel like a student anymore. Words like ‘educator’ and ‘practitioner’ now have real meaning to me, whereas before PP1 I think I was just pretending. PP1 has been a pivotal teaching experience and I will remain forever thankful for the support I have been given.
I am feeling dubious about going back to University because I just want to be teaching now, but I am going to use it as an opportunity to recharge my batteries, keep learning, and be hauled out to the next place! It is the end of the beginning but there is so much more to acheive. Onwards and upwards.
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