I’ve already ended up doing what I said I wouldn’t…losing track of my blog!
To be fair, it has been a crazy few months, but I’m still annoyed I haven’t managed to keep some sort of update on what’s been happening. Still, lesson learnt for next term!
What has been happening? Too much that people will want to read, so I’m going to squash nearly two month’s worth of “stuff” into a reasonably short post.
Since my last post the most significant thing I’ve done is definitely my first teaching placement! Spending two weeks in school certainly brings it home what being a teacher is really like. It’s very easy to get caught up in assignments and essays whilst in Uni and almost forget why you’re doing the work you are. Going out on placement really reminds you!
I was in a Year 1 class which I was pleased with as I’ve never worked with children that young before. I was surprised at how confident and self-assured they were for such a young age, although I know this won’t be the case in every school. I settled in quicker than I’d anticipated and I think this is because the teacher allowed me to jump right in, hearing children read and helping them with activities. Developing an instant relationship with the children was beneficial, particularly in this school as all the children seemed so eager to talk and work with me.
As the first week progressed I found myself gaining more responsibility; I’d take a group of 6 or 7 children for a whole activity, start to finish. I loved this, as I could see the children’s progress throughout the task, not just come in at the end and not really understand how they’d got to that point. And as clichéd as it sounds I loved seeing an end product, particularly in subjects like Art, where I thought “I helped them get there.” I really started to feel like I was teaching them something.
For the second week I had to plan and teach phonics sessions for a group of 10 high ability children. My partner and I were given basic instructions on the sounds they had to learn but we were given pretty much free rein of how we could do it. I was so apprehensive at teaching phonics but am so glad I did it because it’s not only added that string to my bow, but also helped me to simply “get it” a bit more.
The biggest achievement of my placement however, was teaching an observed whole class Maths lesson with my partner! Maths is admittedly my least favourite subject so I was keen to do our lesson on Maths to try and break this stigma in my head. My partner is a Maths specialist and so was happy with our choice of subject too. Being digital literacy specialist I was keen to incorporate an element of technology into the lesson and so used the Interactive Whiteboard to play a Maths game, allowing the children to come up and use the board themselves. This is something I did not see whilst in the class and I think it’s important the children realise they can touch the board, it’s not a sacred, out-of-bounds object that only adults can use. I believe that in letting children explore and use technology in a safe and supervised way, they will learn not only how to use it correctly but also how to respect it.
Throughout my placement I was acutely aware of the lack of technology based learning and opportunities for children to use technology. There was one computer in each classroom which only the teacher was allowed to use and no computer suite or facilities. The only other technology I could see in use was the Interactive Whiteboard which, as previously mentioned, wasn’t really utilised in the most effective way. There were e-safety posters dotted around the school with a basic checklist of “do’s and don’ts” but if children don’t have a context to apply this to, then it will surely be ineffective? On return to University my digital literacy group discussed the technology we had seen on placement and it was quite sad how little there was. On my next placement I will definitely make more of an effort to discuss technology programmes within the school I am placed, as I would find it quite interesting to know why they do/don’t support it.
Other than my placement I have recently handed in my first ever lot of assignments (eek!). I’m really eager to find out what I got as I currently have no idea what level I am working at. It’ll be really interesting to know and hopefully will be a pleasant surprise!
I’ve had some interesting Digital Literacy lessons in the last few weeks of term and am now gearing up to start the Computing module in the New Year. I’ve also finished my English, Maths and Science modules for this year and after Christmas will be starting a whole host of colourful subjects including Art, DT, History and, scarily, PE! Not quite sure how that one is going to go…I’m also starting revision for my core subject audits
Meanwhile, I’m going to relax and enjoy my Christmas holiday. This term has been absolutely crazy and involved a lot of change both personally and professionally and I can’t wait to have a bit of down time with my family. But I know a few days after Christmas I’ll be pining to get back to University. You just can’t please me!
Roll on 2014!