April 23, 2019

I'd be lying if I told you that it came naturally

In the beginning: I’d be lying if I told you that the thought of reading around teaching pedagogy heightened my excitement to a state of euphoria. I’d also be lying if I told you that it came naturally, was easy and was something I looked forward to whilst also trying to balance writing assignments, lesson plans, reflections and oh yes, actually teaching in the classroom.

Initially this reading felt unfocused, for without much teaching experience my reading was undirected and without context. It felt like starting on a journey with no end or meaning; nothing made any sense nor did it have any relation to my practice, for I did not yet have a practice. Bombarded with reading lists, and suggested reading I was overwhelmed not only by the work but also by the enormity of such a mine field of knowledge.

Little by little: Like most things in life, it became apparent to me that in order to embark on what seemed like an impossible task, it would be easier to start at the beginning… with my subject’s pedagogy. Rather than looking at specific areas of teaching like behaviour, I started to read into the pedagogy of my subject. This was far more accessible for me, for whilst I could not yet connect to teaching pedagogy as a whole, I could connect to my subject thus a door into the pedagogy behind it.

Towards the end: I am now over half way through my PGCE year and my reading has become a lot more natural. I am now able to seek advice from pedagogy, and I am able to understand the theory behind it. As my teaching practice has evolved, my passion has been drawn towards behaviour management. With the experience I have gained from both the classroom and my PG assignments, I am able to read more efficiently and focused. Not only has the reading become easier, but guess what… I actually enjoy it!

My advice to you: Don’t be put off by the recommended reading lists: these are there to guide you through not only the entirety of your PGCE year but also your entire career as a teacher.

Start with your subject: by reading about your subject pedagogy you can ease your way into the minefield of teaching theory, using your existing subject knowledge as a foundation.

Don’t just read books: Look at blogs, articles and other media sources. The Guardian education section has some great reads which aren’t too lengthy and are very accessible.

Check out the references: When you get more confident, check out the references in existing reports, journals and books. These will guide you to the next level of reading.

Keep going: Teaching isn’t easy, and the hoops you have to jump through don’t make it any easier. However there is a wealth of support and knowledge out there. Even when you are struggling, google it! You will realise you’re not alone, and that this will get easier.

Talk: Ask your colleagues, chances are they may have read something which has helped them and could also help you.

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