Feeling Fabulous

Just had a late tutorial, didn’t make it last week due to child with broken foot. It’s been another fabulous one, it’s always good to have that 1:1 time and catch up with the tutor without rush or hurry. Some great feedback on the ILP, didn’t realise we had to include theory in there too but that can soon be added and now I know where to reference it… in the back of the teaching file. I’m so glad now that I have been logging all of my references because I didn’t realise that the teaching file had to have a list of all references at the back. Whoops, could have been tricky to rectify that one.

Had a lovely chat with my tutor, glad that we got to talking about my blog as well (thank goodness I brought it up). As it turns out someone read something I wrote, took it completely out of context and shared it with people imagining it was a slate on them. What it actually was was my own thoughts on shifting senses of responsibility and focus when moving from a non-teaching professional career  to a teaching one.

My post arose not after a placement session but after an academic session. A discussion took place during which it was proposed that staff relationships are more important in defining you as a teacher than classroom success. In the class (given constraints of time) I’d expressed how I felt this was not very fair in my opinion and so when i got home I continued to off load my thoughts on the subject. What I thought was one of the purposes of the blog.

For some reason (I can only imagine what), someone took offence. I don’t understand this as it was my reflection on my own experience not of the placement but of the transition from one career to another. It was chastising myself for my lack of appreciation of how important immersing oneself in the staff team was. It ended with me saying how I was glad to have learned something new, it mentioned throughout how I had not anticipated the need to re-commence in the back room shenanigans as a  newbie to this profession and how mistaken I’d been. It was about me not being impressed by the trappings of a white collar job as I might have been as a 21 year old fresh out of college. As I know my blog is followed by over 100 people, including lots of trainee teachers it was advice to anyone in the same boat as myself to not make the same mistake. But anyway that’s the danger of written information, sometimes it’s misconstrued out of context and then show to other people and further misconstrued.

I’ve blogged for years and if I thought there was anything offensive in my blog posts I wouldn’t post them. Inadvertent upset is out of my control but of course I feel sorry for the person affected. It would have been  much more professional if whoever took exception had posted a comment and evoked discussion which would have put their misconstrual into perspective and context.

It’s easy to offend people in writing or otherwise without realising. Ironically today we were studying professionalism and I was led to thinking of the times I’ve witnessed it and chosen not to say anything and when I’ve been upset or offended by racist remarks from people who didn’t know I would be offended, or comments about religion or groups of people I have an affiliation with. [NB:m I feel now that I have to add that this was NOT in my PGCE placement but in all aspects of my life, at university, in work other than my placement and such]. I guess the more we write and say the more chance there is of us offending people. I type 100 words a minute off the cuff it takes me seconds to put together a blog post so I blog more than some people might and less than many others so there’s more chance that I might say something that someone disagrees with.

The whole point of blogging is for people to give their opinion back either on the public forum or in a private message but obviously not everyone does so. It’s a virtual discussion place. ironically that’s how I got to talking about it today, I said that we don’t really have time as a class to spend in discussion about our experiences and I was reminded that’s what the blog was supposed to be for, to share our thoughts and discuss them but it’s not really worked out like that which is a shame. I’m going to make mine private later while I add some information to the home page and encourage some followers to stop following my blog if it offends, something I would do without prompting.

On one of my other blogs at the weekend there was a discussion about people getting the wrong end of the stick with a blog post, Chinese whispers and similar issues. There were some really funny stories of the fall out but if someone’s offended through self-identification or whatever then that’s not funny and needs to be avoided.

Anyway, on reflection that’s the blog lesson learned, besides that I had some great feedback on my poster presentation, I got 70% which was more than I anticipated and at level 7 it makes me realise that I am capable of a masters if I apply myself. There were some fab comments and I was pleased with my efforts. There is a tendancy for an electronic poster to be seen as an easy option but a lot of work, creativity and skill went into it and clearly that was recognised as the comments pointed out.

On top of all this good news there was the official feedback on my last tutor observation, a nice even smattering of 1’s and 2’s and some fab points for improvement, one of which I fully anticipated. Challenging lateness. I had two observations last week and on both I failed to challenge lateness so this week that will be up there on my agenda of must do’s.

We had quite an interesting discussion on the validity of being graded a “Grade 1 teacher” and how it’s only as valid as the day and time you were observed. That Grade 1 status is not something that is awarded and branded into your forehead, it’s something that happened in a snapshot of time and which hopefully you continue throughout your practice, but this is teaching. It only takes a bad class, a failed bit of tech and that Grade 1 may become a Grade 2 an hour after you got the Grade 1. It’s not about attaining Grade 1 and resting on your laurels, it’s about striving for Grade 1 at all times and understanding why you didn’t attain it on this occasion. That doesn’t have to be an observed session it can be about just knowing what a Grade 1 lesson looks like and reflecting on your performance against that each and every time you teach.

I enjoyed the lesson today too, on professionalism. It evoked some good discussion and gave me lots of ideas to write about for the next essay.

Onwards and upwards that’s the direction I’m heading in, just another couple of assignments and I’m there, PGCE will be another qualification in the bag. One day I’ll tire of education… maybe not.


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