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.



Who does she think she is even?!

A few days ago I called up a secondary school in regards to doing some work experience because I need to build up some experience before I can do my post grad in teaching.  Anyway,  so on the first day I called and gave my name and details ect which were apparently going to be passed on to the head of the English department because that’s the area I want to teach in. I was told she’d call me back. So I waited that afternoon obviously I assumed she’d ring me after school that day.  But she didn’t, so I waited another day but no call.

So, today I decided I would ring the school again just to chase things up. Another receptionist answered,  I know it was another receptionist because she had a distinct accent,  so I told her my situation, and without checking, without asking her colleague,  without any reassurance in her voice she said,  “Its been forwarded”. How does she even know without checking? I heard no computer clicking or anything.  So, by her response I realised that these receptionists didn’t really give two sh*ts, and so I asked if I could email the teacher directly, she replied, “You can email and we will forward it” – errr no you jeffing won’t. Anyway,  I got the email because I didn’t have much choice.

I just hated her mindless monotone voice. It just aggravated me so much. She just seemed so dead between the eyes.  I mean as a receptionist it’s your job to play messenger and communicate things back and forth.  The first one wasn’t much better.  I know being a receptionist isn’t exactly a job you can be passionate about, but a little oomph in your voice to make it sound helpful, and actually checking up rather just blatantly lying is something. To her it may seem like nothing – a bit of work experience – but my future could depend on it.

Anyway,  hopefully I won’t have to go through the drones of receptionists now because my brother,  who attends the school,  got me the email of the head of English.

Glad to get that off my chest. Still hate them both, and receptionists in general.

Any of you had horrible experiences with receptionists?