This will be my last blog post until my course and placement are over unless I really have to do it as part of course requirements then I will. I used to enjoy blogging here specifically about the PGCE but the edge went off it for me.
So before I say farewell…
It’s been a busy week here in PGCE land.
Everything’s starting to come to an end now.
I’ve been asked to cover a day’s teaching tomorrow as a couple of the staff are on a trip with some students and as ever I love the opportunity to take a different class although one of the classes I teach regularly and the other I’ve observed a few times so they are familiar to me. So I’m looking forward to that.
I’m just giving my essay on professionalism a final check over before hand in tomorrow and then that’s another submission and another module finished. I had it done and then stupidly went and read another book and found some things I wanted to thread into my essay somehow. I’m really pleased with this one, I think I’ve done myself proud and stepped up to the level 7 mark but then again that’s my opinion, it’s the marker’s opinion that counts.
I taught yesterday and today and the two days were very different but each very inspiring. I love it when I have really contrasting experiences as it gives me a lot to reflect on and I can analyse each session comparing it to the other. I write mini reflections after every session, I used to do it here but prefer to do it in my private teaching file records now.
I really love teaching, I’m glad that I stuck out the bits where it seemed not to be working out and got to this point. We’ve had some laughs in the staff room this week too, it’s never a dull place and we had two birthdays!
I had an early start today to attend the curriculum meeting as is usual on a Thursday morning even though it’s a shock to the system to have that early start. It is really good to attend and I would highly recommend that if you get chance go to them and if you’re not invited ask if you can be. You learn so much about curriculum development and target setting and meeting and how risks are managed and how the team all work together to support students. It gave rise to lots of questions which my mentors were more than willing to answer later on this afternoon. Take every opportunity to learn about the behind the scenes stuff while you can, the more you are familiar with when you start in your first job the better. Understanding the jargon is a big part of slotting into a new organisational culture and it will help enormously I’m convinced of that.
Don’t just think of your placement mentors as useful for bouncing questions off about the practice of teaching. They know a lot about the theory too and today I was reading a book in my break and I came across something I was unfamiliar with to do with the theoretical/academic side of teaching. I read it out to my mentor to ask what his take was on it and we had a good chat about the sociology of business and education and the attitudes to teaching which was really useful.
If you’re a young student (unlike myself) don’t shy away from talking to the older teachers, some of them have some fascinating insight and experience when it comes to teaching and they are really great for anecdotal stories and for talking about the changes to education. It’s experience money can’t buy you and is invaluable to help you put all of the theory into perspective.
On Tuesday evening this week I was also invited with other students to give a bit of a speech to next year’s prospective intake on our experiences on the course this year and of course that was an honest opinion of the course and the placement experience. It was positive and encouraging while making no bones about the amount of work, the need to be organised and how to get the most from your placement.
I think the key thing for me was stressing that you really need to be sure that you really want to be a teacher and to not do it for the wrong reasons. If you are doing it for the wrong reasons you will find it hard, particularly the teaching practice, if you’re not interested in people and helping to mould and develop them, in building a rapport with them in seeing them flourish, in putting your efforts into helping them believe in themselves into seeing them as valuable future leaders of our society then don’t be a teacher.
It will show in your practice and the students will pick up on it and you will be on a hiding to nothing. Nobody can feel fulfilled knowing they are not doing something they wholeheartedly love and are 100% committed to, it is hard even if you are like that as I am, so if you don’t have that to carry you through the tough bits you will not become an effective teacher. I really feel strongly about that. Students can tell if you’re not bothered and if you’re not bothered why should they be and if they’re not bothered how are you going to engage them? Use a bit of Social Role Valorisation and ask yourself would you want someone like you to be teaching your children? If you can’t answer yes don’t do it because your students are someone’s children and they deserve whatever you think your children deserve.
All in all it’s been a long week but a good week with loose ends tied up with the essay submission and some new experiences under my belt.
It’s sad that the placement and course are coming to an end and although I’m set to move away in July unless something drastic happens to stop me I’m hoping that things work out for me to see the year through to the end. It’s not a case of get your 100 hours and run, for me that attitude isn’t an option, I like to finish what I started and it’s just sad that I won’t be there to see next year through with my fab year 1 class. I would have loved to work with them and see them achieve their qualification and prepare them for university but these things can’t be helped.
I’ve invested something of myself in these young people and they’ve taught me so much and helped me to learn so much I can’t just disappear even though my 100 hours were long since achieved.
I think this will be my last blog post, I’m done here, I used to love blogging but the way people search for the negative and ignore the positive really puts me off and I just wanted to finish off my journey thus far with a round up post.
If you want to be a teacher, do it and if you don’t want to be a teacher do something else. It’s not a career as an alternative to doing nothing, or because it gives good holidays (myth), early finishes (myth), late starts (myth) nor is it all about sitting joking in the staff room drinking coffee. It’s not all apples on the desk and flowers at the end of every term, it’s a tough job, it’s challenging, it’s exhausting and draining, but if you really want to do it, if you love doing it and you are committed to it then it is also the most rewarding job. I would do this job for zero salary in a heart beat, with no hesitation.