Category Archives: 3. Prof. Skills & Abilities

Second Year

First semester of second year went in a flash! My summer was awful, I had two bereavment’s in one week and spent most of my summer away from my own children 600 miles away. Because of my awful summer I was really looking forward to having the opportunity to go out on another school placement so soon after my first year placement. The reality was that although I loved my placement the timing of it could not have been worse. It was such a short placement of only 4 weeks. My crit was 2.5 weeks in to this placement and I just feel I did not really have time to get to know the school and the class well enough. It was also Christmas time and the closer it got to the Christmas holidays the louder and more excitable the class became. As time went on I found it increasingly difficult to keep the class on task.

My class, mentor and the other school staff were all lovely but when everybody is so busy with extra curricular activities and the children are getting louder by the day it is not so easy to be able to carry out your lesson plans when you would like. In-between pantomime visits, Christmas shows and rehearsals it is not easy to have two consecutive full days of teaching for example.

I came from an EY background and so I thought i would really enjoy something different in the middle and upper school placements. I was wrong. Although, i loved the children in my classes (i had two P7 classes) I never got to experience middle school and I feel that my heart does firmly lie within EY teaching. At least placement was an experience that taught me that. I enjoyed my placement but it just wasn’t me.

I never saw myself as somebody who had the patience and knowledge to work with a child who has ASN but throughout both of my upper school placements i found that those were the children that gravitated towards me and i towards them. I enjoyed spending time with them and helping them to achieve something. In a way it reminded me of why i wanted to teach. I love seeing the look on a childs face when they have FINALLY been able to spell something, solve a maths problem or draw a nose. That eureka moment where their eyes light up and that smile beams out from their face. It doesn’t matter how small a ‘thing’ it could be to somebody else but it means the world to that child. I enjoyed sharing those moments. It also gave me a chance to match the learning from the lecture theatre to the classroom.

My next school placement is EY and i am looking forward to being the observer in the classroom who can catch those little eureka moments. Just watching the joy a child gets from being able to play and them not realising that they are learning something new. Getting muddy from outdoor play and coming home with sand in my hair. This is what i have missed and i am very much looking forward to going in to the next school placement.

However, before then i have Learning from Life. As a mature student i wasn’t sure what i wanted to do. I just wanted to teach. So i decided i would do something interesting that still allows me school contact. I am going to work in a local historical archive compiling lesson plans that can be used in local schools. I am really looking forward to getting back out there!

 

Placement: Part 1

For 1PP1 i am in a small village school with no more than 130 pupils total. I have 17 pupils in my P7 class. I feel I have started to bond well with the children in my class. The one thing I really struggled with at the start was not gaining the classes attention but managing to keep it. Now I am in my fourth week of placement however and I feel that it was not the fault of the class but my fault. The children could feel my panic and my lack of confidence when teaching lessons. This was why they stopped listening or got distracted. Since starting 1PP1b I have more confidence and I have a more authoritative voice rather than just shouting to gain attention. I am building a rapport with the class and I know what they are capable off and how long I can get away with talking for before they start to lose interest.

The good thing about the class is they are very varied in ability. As I have pupils who are working across first, second and third level I have been able to differentiate most of my lessons especially Maths and Literacy. This gives everybody in the class the opportunity to succeed with the work they are given. I have so far taught lessons from most areas of the curriculum. I still need to do a Technology, Science and a PE lesson but I have covered all other areas of the curriculum.

Last week I feel the most successful lesson was an RME one based around Easter and the Easter story. I started a whole class conversation by using questioning and to try and find out what previous knowledge the class had. I then used a short 5 minute Lego version of the Easter story to gain some interest with the children which they all enjoyed and then they could use their imagination to draw their own pictorial timeline of events from the Last Supper to the Resurrection. I attended Catholic School so I knew the story well but I did not want to teach it as dryly as i had been taught in the 90s. The class got really involved with the lesson and produced some good imaginative timelines.

This week I have a Maths lesson based on Perimeter and Area where I will be taking the class outside to get hands on. I am hoping getting them out of the classroom will mean they enjoy this lesson and it can help them understand the concepts in a real life situation.

I also have some Health and Well-being, Art, Literacy and French lessons planned. I enjoy whole class lessons and feel more confident with these than group ones. I am hoping the more group lessons I do the more confident in these I will become.

Semester 2

Another semester that went too quickly!

As expected, I have given up my job to concentrate on University and to be able to focus 100% on my placement.

Semester 2 was spent focussing on Pedagogy and the Curriculum. I already knew a bit about pedagogy but mostly in an Early Years setting. This did give me a slight head start when it came to research and starting my reading list.

As i said in my last post we had spent a little time doing dance and ICT classes. I really enjoyed learning more about the content of the curriculum and the different subject areas. I have always enjoyed Social Studies and I was looking forward to being able to teach those parts of the curriculum when I started placement. The Maths classes were informative and we were shown ways in which we could make Maths fun for our pupils. Science and Technologies were interesting, informative and enjoyable. The cakes we made in technologies may not have gone to plan but they were edible!

Another subject I really enjoyed when I was at school was Modern Languages. I started learning French in Primary 3 and continued this until Sixth year. When I saw the elective module choices last semester I straight away decided to pick a language. I initially went in to French but due to the large gap I had taken away from speaking the language I found it too fast paced but due to my school qualifications I could not drop down another level. I decided to switch to a language I had never really come in to contact before and that was Spanish. I missed 3 weeks which made me a little worried that I would fall behind but I had nothing to worry about. I found out that I still enjoyed learning a new language and actually, I am really good at it. I can’t wait to start bringing Modern Languages in to the classroom and hope I can ignite a spark in another child who may enjoy languages too.

I’m a walking cliche. I have always wanted to teach and now I am almost through my first year with just 3 weeks of placement to go!

First week back

It’s the start of semester 2. There were a couple of timetable glitches which immediately sent me in to panic mode….”How will I work”, “when will I spend time with my own children?”. Luckily my employer has been accommodating and my husband has the flexibility in his working day that he can help with the children and the general household duties.

My New Years resolution is to spend more time with family. We’ve been spending much more time outdoors, at the park. We’ve introduced board game night so that I have time to chat to my children about their week and when my timetable allows I can still attend that karate class or school assembly. I’m already a very organised person but I will have to be a lot more organised in my home life this semester.

My placement is in a smaller school in a village. This terrified me to start with as it is something completely different to what I am used to. However,¬† I have now done some research on the school and I think I will enjoy the small school aspect where the local community has lots of involvement and less children who’s names i have to remember.

So far I have had an animation class. This was fun and different. When I was at school our IT didn’t exist until secondary school. That’s me now showing my age! To have all of these resources at our finger tips is fantastic and I look forward to bringing these lessons in to my own classroom.

I’ve participated in a dance class. First thing on a Friday morning is not what I expected but it wasn’t too hard going and seeing where classes like these can slot in to the Curriculum for Excellence is good.

We’ve had some overviews of language and literacy and professional practice. Going through these lectures has made me think more about what I remember from Primary School and that parts of that I can bring in to my own lessons. It has also helped me to become more reflective.

When I first saw the timetable I wondered why I decided to do this as a mother of two and I am sure this wont be the first or last time I feel like this in the next four years. I just have to keep remembering that it is a very short period of time in the rest of my life and what I can bring to children in my future classes will far outweigh the work I have to put in to my degree.

I will be practicing my lesson plans on my daughter to see how well they go so hopefully that gives me a head start!