I am now at the stage whereby I can consistently get lost from the car park to the staffroom, and still feel no shame. The first few weeks of my PGCE have involved attending meetings, meetings and more meetings. And then some more induction lectures thrown into the mix just to spice things up a little.
My time at the University of Nottingham so far has really caused me to question whether we as a nation really care about the environment. As it stands, I currently have received enough pieces of paper to make a life-size paper aeroplane. Something which can really irk me is the over-reliance that universities have on paper. I understand that having a paper copy of something is nice, but do we really need to have a paper copy of our assessment criteria? Maybe it’s because I have never taken the time out to look through it, but I much prefer reading through a .PDF file.
That is it. That’s literally the only bad thing that has happened so far on my teacher training course, being given too much paper. The tutors seem to be extremely supportive and friendly, quite a sharp contrast from my previous experience of lecturers. Understandably, School Direct pupils probably won’t have as much interaction with their tutors, in comparison to those on a PGCE for example. Plus I haven’t made anyone on the course cry, yet. Which is always a good thing. In fact, I have been on my best behaviour!
As for the school, which is the main focal point of my experience, oh my goodness! I absolutely love it. Well, at least I think I do. Software development was pretty much ruined after my work experience at Rolls-Royce and after undertaking my Commercial Development Practice module during my Master’s year. It’s not that I don’t like Computer Scientists, I just don’t like Computer Scientists. Developing software can be extremely stimulating, but it’s not very engaging in regards to feedback. Whereas working with children at my school, to say it’s engaging would be an understatement. My poor little feet are sore at the end of every school day, but I absolutely love it.
I definitely understand what they mean when they say it can be a rollercoaster of a career. Despite only being at the school for just over a week observing and assisting with lessons, I’ve found that my students are absolutely hilarious. They will say the most inappropriate things, and make the inappropriate remarks at times to their fellow students, get their feet stuck in chairs (yes, that happened), and call each other “gay” at least twice a minute, but they are a joy to teach. The highlight of my first week would definitely be getting told “Sir, you’re a good guy”. Now I don’t exactly know what the criteria for being a “good guy” is, but I seem to have fulfilled it.
When I am not in the classroom, I am usually attending meetings on safeguarding, child protection or making use of TA’s (teaching assistants, one of the many acronyms that are used throughout school). Honestly, there is so much more to teaching than just delivering lessons, well there appears to be. What future meetings involve only my meeting calendar knows, but I have a Continuing Professional Development session tomorrow that involves me having a tour of the local catchment area, which sounds like a right laugh seeing as how I only live 10 minutes down the road from the school.
Another cool thing that the school runs which is worth a quick mention is their DEAR program. Teachers sure do love their acronyms, this one stands for Drop Everything And Read. Morning registration usually lasts around 20 minutes, and every Tuesday students are encouraged to read a book during this time. Personally, I think that this a fabulous idea, and definitely one way to get students into reading, something which I’m sure English departments all across the country will be screaming out for. One of the benefits of this is that members of staff are also encouraged to bring a book in, and in today’s DEAR session I made a start on Noam Chomsky’s How the World Works, something which I have been meaning to do every since I purchased the book around 3 years ago.
Overall, amid all of the meetings and exponentially growing piles of paper, the first week of my PGCE has gone by fairly smoothly. I know the name of quite a few teachers, don’t have a clue where the staff toilets are, but still have the majority of my pens still in my possession. More importantly, I have not cried yet. All in all it has been quite a positive experience so far. I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks involve when I start to build stronger relationships with students and take a more proactive role in regards to teaching lessons. Until the next blog post!
Are there any crucial points that you feel as if I have missed out? Any tips that you would give to someone just starting out on their PGCE? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!