Update Central

Deciding not to do placement. Bad decision? It could be. Wrong decision? It might be. Wise decision? For now – at least. I am most certainly not stopping teaching, as it is what I really do love. However, the time doesn’t work out to do placement and various circumstances have led me to this choice. (Dundee University, you need to know that you’re amazing and play zero part in this!)

It’s not been a decision that I’ve taken after having a headache one day. Nope. To be honest, I’ve already investigated the routes into teaching after leaving at the end of third year – and yes, there are options. I’m a tad disappointed as yes… there is nothing better than making a difference to a child’s life. However, my days in practice are not concluded come April next year. The lanyard may travel in zigzag but returning is on my agenda. Somehow.
And so how will I continue?

The blog has always been a crucial part of my journey. It has been. It still is. It will be. I may have to end my GLOW account with Dundee – most likely. Yet, there is now a new updated site (so my writing world isn’t over). Don’t cry, Claire… blogging can continue. The ability to check myself against different professional GTCS standards will remain online! Yipee! Future plan… when I graduate (in the foreseeable future)…I can look back at how my teaching has improved. It seems as if I will have to apply for the post-graduate option somewhere! However by that stage, I hope to have experience that will make me an owl of a teacher (with glasses because a -5 prescription calls for that!) I have looked into options whilst studying with Open University. Here they are:

TEFL;
Going across to Africa where I am trying to support an orphanage;

Working as a classroom assistant.

I know it sounds bizarre to an outsider to essentially stop a degree two-thirds in. But, well, life experience is needed. We are meant to teach our children – and I want to give my pupils the best knowledge I can. I owe that to them. I really do.

Learning for Life made me realise that the outside workplace can add another dimension, another aspect to your teaching which entering straight from school doesn’t let you have. I do quite fancy working as a classroom assistant where kids have challenging behaviour to put into practice the knowledge I have learnt. Then, in a few years, I hope to come back to some university (somewhere) to complete everything. I’m sad that Miss Smith may not be a full-time teacher to be honest – very sad in a way. But I know that through this blog… I shall keep my goal alive. It will happen. One. Day. It’s just not the right timing. Not for now 😊

This year, I am going to just go for it – and upload all my thoughts, lesson plans and ideas anyway. There are quite a few hiding in my document folder right now! I still tutor part-time. I am writing children’s books (cause yes, my brain is still five). And, I am making the most of what is offered during these next academic terms!

SO, Summer: LET’S MOVE FOWARD!

So, after learning about my learning placement (Lfl ’19) … I’ve decided to account myself to my learning more and uptake in the sport of writing a daily blog over summer. It’s not aiming to be a massive task, but something educationally amusing. A cocktail of words a day doesn’t do anyone any harm! It’s about time that I moved out of my comfort zone of posting occasionally – and made it into a real habit. A serious habit. A commitment (without the engagement ring of course!)


The discussion with my placement tutor has been sitting like the logs of a fire in my mind. Ready to be lit up! Just waiting, waiting… and well now? On fire, are they. I’ve understood the weakness which needs a more stable anchor in my personality: I like order a little too much; I love structure; I thrive when someone tells me what to do. Musing back to the days of study leave, a plan was created and the ‘chore’ of revising was undertaken at certain times. My brain, you see, is a bit odd sometimes: it will daydream if it is given no set timing or pressure. Annoying: but maybe that’s why my right and lefts still need to be written on my hand! Yes. I do that. Put me in the nursery – okay! What will move me out of my cot and into a full-size bed (academically, of course) is realising that you cannot wait for academic work to come to you. Don’t stay looking for educational food. Sometimes, well most of the time, you have to search. What better than using my TeachTodos university blog as an opportunity to explore new options? Let’s try. And be ready for failure too. A daily lesson plan and Early Years material post per day (when Wifi is accessible): that’s what myself shall do. That’s the new adventure.

YET WHY A BLOG?

During SQA days (uh-huh, I do kind of miss the ‘oooo it’s almost exams’ pressure a little) my brain adored the fact that you were told exactly which sentences to memorise. Really…truly…sincerely…and that homework was daily. Learn this, look up that. This blog has previously helped me to venture out into the real academic world, at least, where the notion of memorising to pass is long gone. Thinking? Ahh, yes myself does have a voice. Yet, speaking up can come with a price – and all the anxiety, fear and ‘what ifs?’ However, I love blogging. I just love this activity. So love it. (And I’m not just typing it because it’s part of my course). Why? It pushes you to put the past in a different light and cycle on in the correct gear.

When I started running years ago, I started the art of processing emotions and thinking positively through embracing the present (whilst pounding the streets). I see sport as the ‘resilience’ builder. But, missing something was I! Indeed. And, thanks to teaching… this blog has come along. And, another merci to my discussion (on LfL ’19) I will use my spare time to reflect and develop lesson plans. Writing learning intentions and success criteria is a matter of practice. On that same point, quite urgent practice is required! Hurry up to the desk, Claire.

And so, let me start off this daily reflection habit (to-be!) by considering one of my colleague’s posts, Blaze Lambert, who wrote a lovely piece about daydreaming. She speaks of daydreaming as “increasing curiosity” and building the (ever so encouraged) growth-mindset. But, time is put in the drain? Or so, some of humanity believe. Lauren Child – author of the famously popular ‘Charlie and Lola’ – argues that daydreaming allows our children “to develop a sense of personality” however modern day society does, indeed, consider the act of letting your mind wander in a more negative light. Escape boredom in class? Daydream. Stressed by something? Just daydream. Worried? Daydream of the perfect existence. There does exist the rather dangerous mental health condition, maladaptive daydream, in which people are more occupied by their made-up thoughts than what is happening in front of their eyes. However, allowing kids to be creative and play imaginative games? That’s essentially daydreaming. Or I uphold that stance. That’s what our screen monsters need. Sorry for the slightly derogatory word there: I’m not any better myself when my iPhone gives me the heads up for wasting the day on Facebook!

After all, daydreaming allows us to take in our surrounding and relax. Take in the moment for what it is – and pause. Like a peaceful stream: thoughts come and leave as the current of our brain moves up and down.  Is it that harmful to let our five-year old students to be engrossed in their own thoughts every now and again? Don’t we do it as adults occasionally? (You know when you’re so hungry and imagine that gigantic margarita with a handful of cheese… instead of focusing….!) As long as: the work is done, boxes are satisfied with their ticks, and kids develop a vibrant and eager learning spirit… a dose of staring into the tranquil sky is happily on the cards in my classroom. Yes. Bring out the colouring pencils and let the students’ minds wonder. Adults are apparently prescribed it as healthcare solutions nowadays! I’d rather see a smile with their heads in the clouds than a face consumed by extreme artifical bright light.

Oh… and… here’s a photo to start you in the #daydreamingland!