“After this initial paper work we were set straight to work: subject knowledge audits, tests and preparing for demonstrations, lectures on professional behaviour…”
It is not even 7 in the morning and yet I am here, typing away, waiting for my next train to arrive. I thought getting up at 6 every day was going to be hard, but I seem to have gotten used to that quite quickly.
The course started with two weeks of preliminary placements. I spent an entire week in a year 3 class, and got enough hugs to survive the next 10 years of teaching! The secondary school had a no-hug policy, but did supply me with plenty of coffee instead of squash!
And then, finally, after a year of waiting, a summer of anticipation, and with a backpack full of new stationary, I was allowed to go back to uni to start my PGCE. Maybe I shouldn’t have filled my bag with the new stationary, as all we did the first week was get paper work! Even though I had been warned by various people and thought I had the right expectations, I don’t think anybody can be properly prepared for the amount they give you. There was even a paper with advice on how to organize them, how many folders you should have, what they should contain and that you should be able to cross index all your notes.
After this initial paper work we were set straight to work: subject knowledge audits, tests and preparing for demonstrations, lectures on professional behaviour, on how to use the library (did you know you can borrow books from those?). In our very first week, we were set loose on a class of 16/17-year olds, trying to teach them some maths. I still can’t believe that we survived the lesson, really enjoyed it, and most importantly, that some students actually learned something. That is probably the most important lesson I’ve learned in the first few weeks, it is not about you but all about the students and their learning.
To come back to the biology and chemistry fears I raised previously; these past two weeks I have learned so much. Not just content but, more importantly, that you cannot be an island in the sea of Science. You have to know what is happening in fields that are so closely related to you! You have to be able to talk to fellow science teachers, about their specialism fields, but more importantly, about what students do and learn in their lessons, and how this ties in with what you are doing.
The hardest thing I find is the lengthy days. I am away from home for 12 hours, need to sleep at least 7 hours and walk the dog for an hour. This leaves 4 hours to do my homework, cook, eat, make lunch for the next morning, talk to the husband. Where do I find the time to watch the ‘Great British Bake Off’ on telly?