PGCE English: First Phase Completed.

I survived.

The lead up to Christmas or the second half of phase one was definitely tough. Taking on the year 8 class was really hard because the teacher whose class I was taking over (it wasn’t my mentor’s class) was really intense and I did not enjoy that. She sometimes was very brusque – and I know sometimes teacher’s can be stressed and don’t mean it – but I felt as though she was only like that towards me. She expected me to send her a lesson plan of all the lessons I taught but like instead of telling me her expectations direct to my face she’d get my mentor to say it. My mentor kind of only looked over my lesson plans for the first three/four weeks of my first phase because after that I had gotten the hang of it, so I found having to hand in a lesson plan to B (we’ll call the year 8 teacher ‘B’) just really eughhh. Even when I had sent the lesson plan to her and told her I’ve sent it she’d then be like “I haven’t had time to check it” even though she’d complained that I didn’t send them early enough. I hate stand offish people and she really seemed like that at times. There was on time I was close to tears because of the way she addressed me in an email but, I held it together because I was not going to bawl my eyes out in the staffroom. I’m a very polite and softly spoken person especially if I don’t know you and you’re in a higher authority to me so I found that kind of assertiveness quite aggressive and unnecessary, especially because it was my first phase and I was like new to all the teaching malarkey. Anyway, I liked the rest of the department and they were all really supportive and nice.

On to the classes I taught, I fell in love with my year 9 class because I got to know them so well and had “bantaarr” with them. They were a pleasure to teach, even though there were one or two whiners which I had to drag along in their “learning journey” I still enjoyed teaching those lessons. I think it’s also because my mentor let me experiment with my lesson plans rather than B who kind of always loomed over me and made sure they were to the structure she approved of. I will definitely miss 9R2 because of the characters in there, and because they were up for giving all the quirky weird lesson ideas I had a go. Also, even though they were a class that were chatty and sometimes easily distracted I became quite confident in controlling them and managing their behavior. I also enjoyed teaching year 7’s however I only taught them three lessons because my timetable meant I only taught them in week 2 (the school timetable was a week 1/ week 2 system) but they were also lovely.

On to a class I had a love/hate relationship with, 8R1. Lessons with this class were literally luck of the draw it didn’t help that all their English lessons were either period 4 or period 5 (last lesson) because they were literally off the walls. They are the weirdest top set I’ve ever come across because most (65%) of them in there are never ready to learn and are constantly disrupting the class. Whilst there were a few in there that were diligent (and really cute) I found the lessons really hard to deliver because of the disruptions and obviously my internal anxiety of B looming over me. I spent many of my break and lunchtime with the “special” members spending quality time and talking about their behavior. I just found that whole scenario draining because the teacher was not supportive and the class were difficult and I was just like ‘Arghh’. It was intense.

So, that’s an overview of my first phase as a trainee teacher! Not going to lie, it was intense and it took a lot of perseverance. My skin is taking the toll with lots of under the skin lumps which I assume are stress spots because I didn’t have them before the PGCE ever. I’ve also put on weight I lost and more (sad times) because I haven’t been working out and I’ve been eating junk. Alas, you can’t have it all.

For my second phase, I did get the school I requested to my lecturer which I’m really excited about. I’m hoping I’ll love it because everyone on the course was “so in love” with their first phase school and I was just like it’s alright so I’m hoping I’ll be “so in love” with this second phase school especially because I’m going to be there for six months!

Anyway, that’s me done! I hope you are all well and I hope to update you soon.


PGCE English: first half term as a trainee teacher

I’m typing this in the evening of the third day back after half term and I am already exhausted! The half term was not really a break as up until Wednesday 5pm-ish I was working on my assignment which felt like a dissertation. It was very different to the essays I wrote on my undergrad to say the least! I was away from Wednesday to Friday evening and when I got back I didn’t do 85% of the work I had intended to do. The list of things to do is endless and obviously, lesson planning and marking makes its way to the top and uni admin slips to the bottom again. But, I need to keep on top of the admin otherwise I will fail this year if I can’t keep my evidence to prove I can work at qualified teacher status. I have fully taken on a year 9 set since the week before half term, and until Christmas I will teach them. Next week, I’m going to be acquiring my year 8 class and then in a few weeks I’ll take up my year 7 set; both sets which I’ll also teach till Christmas . The pace at which things are moving at is crazy! At the moment, I’m being observed once a week as a requirement to ensure that the quality of my teaching is progressing but, to be honest, I request more observations just because I want feedback for most of the lessons teach.

I’m starting to feel apart of the school as more and more time goes on as the kids don’t give me that look anymore – you know the one ‘you don’t belong to my school’. I also think I’m building a rapport with the kids as I teach more and more through classroom interactions and marking their books. It’s a nice feeling when they say ‘Thanks, Miss’ (note to any trainee: only some (like two) say this). I’ve also become a co-tutor to a tutor group which I don’t know if I feel apart of, but I am helping 75% of them put together their tutor assembly, which they have to present in front of the whole house, so I’m hoping I’ll get to know them better through that.

I would love to teach in a school like the one I am in at the moment, even though it’s not perfect, but perhaps not that school. It lacks the cosmopolitan feel to it that I had at the school where I went to and would want to teach at. Hmm, I don’t know. Perhaps, when I move back up north after my PGCE I’ll apply for schools in inner Manchester. To be honest, for the second phase of my PGCE (second phase starts after xmas at a school where I do a six month placement) I have requested an inner city Portsmouth school but my lecturer has said she can’t make any promises. Sometimes, I think my mentor could be better – I mean she’s lovely – but so busy because she teaches a full time table along with being head of English and also mentoring me! There’s another trainee on the English department but she’s training via Schools Direct and when I see her and her mentor bantering and just chatting I feel a bit mehh, whereas my mentor it seems like its 95% formalities and civil/small talk. It’s only till Christmas anyway I can endure it.

As for uni, I have made some really good friends. It takes me a while to adjust to people -it also made me feel homesick and miss my old uni- but as more time has gone on I’ve forged some friendships. I’ve been out with them once and I think being out of that uni environment and just chilling – regardless we were talking about teacher stuff- meant that we got to know each other.

Anyway, that is it for now! I hope to write soon, if not I will update when I can.


Post-grad offers & interview prep

In my last post-grad post, I spoke about the the universities I had spoke with at the fare and what my first impressions of them were. I’ll just bring you up to speed of what of what’s gone on between then and now. So, I said that for my first cycle of applications I would choose Edge Hill University, University of Southampton, and University of Portsmouth. However, by when I got round to sending off my application it seemed that Uni of Southampton’s seats were already full or perhaps they’d withdrawn that course which meant I had to find another university to apply to. In the end I chose University of Birmingham, which I know I kind of bashed in my last post because they seemed a bit snooty but a few posts to the actual course convener I warmed up to it enough to apply there instead. So my choices for cycle one ended up being Uni of Birmingham, Uni of Portsmouth, and Edge Hill Uni.

So after sending off my application I had the antagonising wait of seeing if any of them send me an offer. I’ve literally been checking my emails religiously everyday and my UCAS track to see if there have been any changes. I got an email from university of Birmingham and I was like no way fffgghhhh only to open it and find it to be a newsletter, which is weird because I’m not even a student there. Anyway uni of Portsmouth were the first to actually get back to me, and have offered me an interview on the 4th of February, and also Edge Hill uni have offered me an interview on the 11th of February but uni of B’ham haven’t let me know anything yet.

The interview for Portsmouth is the one I’m currently preparing for. As I said in my last post these courses are really competitive, and uni’s actually offer very limited amount of seats compared to the amount of people that apply. So anyway, my interview at university of Portsmouth will be a whole day process, and is kind of in four parts. Firstly, I have to prepare and present a micro lesson (its only ten minutes long) on anything we want but we have been set a clear task. The objective of the task is to introduce the topic clearly, create an activity/task for the “students” (who will be the other candidates), then at the end of the lesson create a way to assess them and reflect on thier work. The second part of the interview process is a written exam which we can’t prepare for they’ll just give us the paper on the day. Then they’ll send us away to lunch at which time they’ll decide who progeess’ on to the third and fourth part of the day, so after lunch some of us candidates will be told to go home because we’ve been unsuccessful. The third part of the interview will be a group interview which I’m dreading because I hate group interviews and then fourth, and final, part will be a one to one interview.

So, yeah I’m going to talk about my Edge Hill uni interview in another post because each uni has different ways of choosing candidates, and otherwise this post would get too long. But I have chosen my outfit for the interviews it’s very neutral and “teacherly” not in a “I’m a frumpy forty year old whose been teaching for 15 years more like I’m young, sassy, sophisticated, and bundles of fun oozing over the edge with energy. (Okay, it’s probably not that either of them.) Perhaps I’ll do a PGCE interview outfit post. Eugh, but you know what happened today guys I lost my Revlon lip butter in “Sweet tart” and I’m so sad (-okay it’s not the end of the world-) because I was going to use it for my interview make up because it’s the perfect “not to nude not to out there pink” for me.

So that’s it for now, I’m typing off until my next blog post. (Is this a good way to end posts? I want a way that I end all my posts.) Please send positive thoughts to my lost Revlon lip butter in hopes ‘she’ is happy wherever on the train I’ve left ‘her’. I did my make up on the train today and I think she fell off the table. I don’t know, I don’t know screams the guilt of a delirious and guilt ridden make up mother. Okay for real now, ciao.

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