Good evening, here starts my second placement as a trainee teacher.
This time I am a good two hours plus from my uni accommodation, and am currently staying in a family’s home. It is very kind of them; I get meals cooked for me, which is amazing, and they also have a cat, which is very calming. I think I was supposed to put him in the kitchen though, however, it is very dark and I may fall down the stairs; I’m sure Felix can find his own way.
The school I am at for a week is a ‘normal’ school, with an extremely young staff body; most teachers are below 30, and many have just started. Already, I am enjoying the more structured aspect; I have also been written into the planning (and given my own copy), and I am known by my second name which I prefer completely. I think the children respect me more (in fact, I told two children to sit down properly on their chairs and stop pushing their books into my face, and they did!! And I heard one say to the other ‘you got told off by miss!’ ‘no you did!’ very satisfying I must say!) The children I am teaching are year 1, however this school do ‘stages not ages’. This means that in one class, according to their development, there could be a range of reception, year one and year two children. In some ways, this is really good as the more able children are pushed forward, however in other ways, the less able children seem to lag behind, and they do not get to interact with children their own age. I’m not sure I agree with ‘stages not ages’ (I’ve just confused myself; I think that is the way it goes round oops!) but this setting of school is already one I feel more at home in.
The school grounds is lovely; it is like walking into a mini village; all very quaint! It is very security security security; we have fobs to let us in the gate (I will attach a photo at a later date), and name tags and it is all very formal (but reassuring!). There are about 15 student teachers in this school, so we take over the staff room rather completely, however it is nice to know people; most of us are English specialists so we see each other nearly everyday and are quite friendly with each other.
My class teacher is so nice; she is very organised and knows that I am a little worried about taking the class, so she has offered to look over my lesson plans and help me out. I am very grateful for this, it is nice that she knows what she wants me to do.
This morning, the class were sat on the carpet, and the class teacher asked the children the date, which she then wrote on the board, and then ran through the running of the day. She stuck up laminated pictures of ‘lunch time’ ‘numeracy’ ‘literacy’ etc in order onto the board. There was then a circle time when the children each spoke about what they did in the half term. While this was going on, I was cutting out masks of the three little pigs and the wolf (who looked equally frightening, especially with empty eye holes…) I was then given a group to help with their book reviews; they all chose a book, read it, and then decided which was their ‘best bit’ and wrote it down along with the author and title. Fairly simple stuff and at first i was a little shy, but I just got into it after a while; you slip into a role when you teach, or at least when I am around children I do. You become a more dramatic, confident person, who can deal with sick and wobbly teeth and children swinging on their chairs, because you have to. I quite enjoy being that person I think.
There was a whole school assembly, which was quite nice. We did a song called ‘Spring Chicken’ which involved doing chicken like arm actions on a monday morning in a cold assembly hall…. a woman from a church came in and did a talk on blending in, and how you should not feel as if you have to blend it for people to like you etc and she also went on to say things like ‘dont ever feel as if you are not important’ and ‘dont ever feel as if it would be better if you were not here’, and I think those are nice things to say to people and it should be said a lot more often in my opinion.
After assembly was break time, and i was not asked to do break duty; there are a lot more teachers in this school compared to my last placement school, so I think there is less of a need for us to help out as much in the practical ways of school life.
The topic for this saturation week is the three little pigs, quite a nice topic I think really! My job is to help the children design and make their own versions of the houses built of straw sticks and bricks, so a DT project really. I am actually looking forward to it a lot more now that I know what I am supposed to be doing! The class teacher read the class the story of the three little pigs and sectioned off groups to go with different teachers. For my first group I was given support in the form of a one on one tutor, as one child in my group has enormous anger problems. Today he just ran around a lot and stormed outside. It was nice to have that bit of support for my first ‘teach’ as I hadnt really decided how I was going to go about getting the work done; in fact I didnt really know I would be doing this untill about 30 seconds prior when she explained to the children what they would be doing with me! But this felt a lot less intimidating, the class teacher actually came up to me and explained in more detail what she wanted, but then left it to me to figure out how to get the children to do it.
Anyway. (finally getting round to telling you what my task was!) i was asking the children to design their own houses (out of straw sticks and bricks) and then label the materials they would use to actually build the, I split their pages into three sections and explained their tasks to them while ruling off, so they would not be too distracted by the books, and it actually worked! I was very pleasantly surprised really! The difficultly I had was getting them to think of things which were not bricks to make their brick houses, as getting house bricks is actually harder than they imagined (‘I’ll get it from my house!’) We then had a role play show of the three little pigs from a different group (using my painstakingly cut masks, now flashily laminated). This was a good example of peer assessment, as afterwards, the audience was asked what the actors did well.
At lunch time, the class teacher actually took the time to sit down with me and talk about lesson plans etc, which was very nice of her, given that she has very busy lunch times! I actually helped out, back on familiar ground, by distributing cups of water to the school dinners.
After lunch time (and a quick catch up with my friends!) I did some more design work, and by my second group I was feeling a lot more confident in my ability to teach and control the children. Thinking back actually, that is a really nice feeling to have, feeling that you are actually proud of yourself. It was then time for numeracy, and the work was on odd and even numbers. The children sat in a circle again and counted in twos round the circle, and then up in odd numbers. It was a nice exercise actually. I was then given a group and some number cards. We were not explained what we had to do, so we split the group into two groups of three, and I took one and we just asked them to sort the numbers into odd and even, and it was quite good. I feel quite accomplished really.
So today was a good day; I think I am feeling more confident, lets hope that this feeling lasts! I have a few more points to add, but I think I will add them to a later post; its not 10 yet but I am shattered and looking forward to getting comfy in bed (and hopefully being joined by Felix…)