The number of files has at least reduced now from 4 to 3 as two of the modules became combined.
I’ve managed to keep my files up to date and have everything I need included in there… I think. However just before a tutorial is a good time to check and make sure you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing so I had a quick flick through and checked against the learning outcomes to make sure everything’s in there and in the right place.
It was a worthwhile exercise as I’m a bit confused as to where a couple of things should be so now I can check that at tutorial and it’s helped me to prepare for the coming weeks by preparing observation documentation and thinking of interview questions for my specialist subject teacher interview.
I’ve asked my mentor (the teacher who usually teaches the classes I teach) if he would be the subject of my interview and he’s agreed to that so once I’m sure what’s what with that I’ll book some time with him.
I’ve got all of my observations booked in now and they should all be done within the next three weeks which fills me with joy to know they are happening. I’ve set myself a pretty intense pace with them as I have two some weeks and there is not a week where I don’t have one this side of Easter but I’d rather focus on those and get them done than leave them to the last minute. It will be easier to address action points and compare teaching from one session to the next with them being so close anyway so there are benefits.
I’ve purposefully left a gap between my final tutor and final mentor individual observations and the last one (the joint tutor/mentor observation) so that I can really address points raised over the whole process and show clear improvement. It made it a little difficult with my first observations being mainly 2’s as the pressure was on to get 1’s in the second observation but I decided that’s ridiculous, classes, subjects and methods vary and I’m hoping to show different styles of teaching in my observations so that I can get feedback on them. So really I’m hoping for more action points and if that means lower marks then I can wow on my final joint observation and show that all I’ve learned and been advised has been taken on board and improved. Well that’s the plan anyway. The way I see it is it’s best to try things and fail now when I have the support and guidance of the lecturers and mentors and peers than to ace it and stick to one tried and tested formula. Teaching isn’t going to be like that in the real world and so I’m not going to cheat myself or my future students by using my best class, best subject and best methods each time.
I’m feeling strangely organised and prepared at the moment. My ILP is always up to date anyway as I make sure it is checked each week and I’ve selected the two targets to write about and done a mind map for those. My mentor meeting log is all up to date with copies of notes slotted in and copies of emails, my teaching log is up to date with reflections on each session written up either as word documents or as blog entries. My blog’s been well used. I have around 50 hits a day which is pretty cool and close to 100 followers and I’ve had some fab discussions and messages and lots of interest besides requests for advice from people thinking of taking the same route next academic year. I enjoy that element of blogging it’s what makes it worthwhile as well as being valuable to me as a place to mind dump. It’s not bad really especially for a blog which I haven’t aggressively or even actively marketed, I think I’ll have to continue with it after I’ve graduated and put it to some use whatever I end up doing next year. The only thing I don’t like about blogging and this is only fleeting is that it pees me off when people comment on how much I blog… the self appointed blog police. I wasn’t aware that WordPress set a limit on how much we should or could blog and if people don’t like it stop following it. It’s really that simple. I can’t for a second think of why I would follow something that I had no interest in but then that’s me. It’s mine, it’s my space, if you don’t want to be in it get out but what I do in it is up to me and nobody else and some people actually enjoy reading some of it.
I’ve got some research and statistics done for my conference paper and have submitted my documentation for that and I have lots of ideas to make that interesting and engaging as well as useful.
The PGCE course can feel very bitty I find. It’s lots of pieces of work which slot together ultimately to give a fair appraisal of our teaching ability but also of our grasp of teaching theory which underpins all that we do in the classroom and as part of the teaching profession. It’s hard to see how those bits do fit to make the whole until you get to the point where nearly all of the bits are completed. I can understand how anyone who is not keeping an eye on all of the paperwork might struggle to see the relevance of some of the work and might struggle to create that whole picture of what we are doing in their mind.
For this reason I would strongly advise anyone embarking on the course to get everything up to date even if it means a long drawn out study session. See it as preparation for the real world of teaching when you will have an ‘office day’ or ‘paperwork day’ where there is no teaching and you sit and plough through the mountain of paperwork and get everything in order, planned and structured so that you can function well within the classroom on the other days. It is well worth doing and means that you need only spend a short time each week updating those records.
It’s sad but true that the role of teacher increasingly involves dealing with lots of administrative tasks and if you sink under those your teaching will suffer as you become stressed so it’s best to keep on top of it by creating good self managed administrative systems like a good brought forward system to keep you on track and make sure you don’t forget anything, good use of diaries and planners, weekly prioritisation and daily review of priorities. I guess I’d be at an advantage here given my background and it’s something I did factor into my decision to become a teacher. I’ve seen so many practitioners in other fields drown under administrative tasks particularly if they have no professional administrative skills or experience and some of those have had a secretary!
Keeping the files on the course is about more than just presenting our work, it’s preparing us for working life where paperwork will threaten to engulf us so the sooner we get used to managing it the better.