Student teacher: Watching time fly and remaining bouncy

Our student blogger is over half way through the year. She has started a new school placement and has even found time to interview for jobs… now she has a few pearls of wisdom which are well worth taking note of.

Teaching physics... nothing to fear?

Time flies when you’re having fun and/or working hard. Suddenly I find myself already in my new, and final, school placement.

Last time I wrote, I was still knee deep in the first placement, longing for the Christmas holiday to come. It came, it passed, followed quickly by the final two weeks at school. It was really sad to say goodbye to the students I had learned to call by name, like, love and loathe. I have learned a lot from them, and hopefully they have learned something from me too.

Next, a few weeks at University were on the agenda. I was looking forward to seeing all my peers again, but I wasn’t looking forward to the lectures. I’ve spend most my time in school and university on the receiving end of lessons and lectures. And after tasting what it is like to stand on the other side, I have to admit that I no longer have the patience to sit still for hours on end, listening to some specialist rambling on, showing slide after slide after slide … but even these weeks flew past.

I started teaching in my new school this week. It feels more stressful getting into it than it was at my first school. Maybe, it is because I had established a certain standard and rhythm with my classes, and I don’t feel that I am reaching those standards at all at the moment.

I struggle most with the change from teaching just KS 4/5 to include teaching KS3 and I have some hits and misses this week. It is not just the different classes I have to adjust to, but also the expectations of the school. They are vastly different from the previous school I was in. They are much tougher on behaviour and uniform, but not nearly as high on achievement and pushing their most able students, which is an interesting contrast to witness.

In addition, I have been to several job interviews (just to add to the workload). The time it takes to prepare for these days, especially the lesson, is only measurable in astronomical timescales. And then the energy it takes to be happy, bouncy, smiley and on your best behaviour all day, is almost too much to ask. However we all will have to go through it and my advice is to stick to your guns, do what you do best and don’t be nervous about the lesson: this is your opportunity to show who you are as a teacher.

I’d rather be over prepared than underprepared, as this gives some leeway if the class is at a lower, or higher, level than expected. A tip from my secret advisor is to make sure you have a back-up plan for any demonstrations and experiments you have booked equipment for, as some schools might want to test how you deal with unexpected equipment failure.

It paid off for me! Which means that I can now focus again on teaching, and my next university assignment which is due in all too soon.