Thursday, October 26, 2006

Divine Guidance needed...

A few years back I started a teacher training course. I just didn't feel at all comfortable with it and left. I was trying to teach French to teenagers, most of whom didn't have the slightest interest in learning it. The PGCE consists of hoop-jumping to the nth degree. Every lesson has to be planned to the minute with cross references to the many parts of the National Curriculum which have been addressed. Other boxes to be ticked include 'Spiritual, moral and cultural', 'Health & Safety', ICT amongst other things. Resources have to be created (these days a little worksheet doesn't seem to cut the mustard - it has to be at least PowerPoint but preferably something for the interactive whiteboard). But these have to have something to challenge, inspire and produce progress from everybody from Homer Simpson to Albert Einstein and everyone in between irrespective of their Aspergers, ADHD, Emotional and Behavioural problems or plain old disaffectedness. Or ordinariness, for that matter. Afterwards, for every lesson, you have to apply liberal amounts of sack cloth and ashes and get a big stick to beat yourself with. This is better known as the lesson evaluation. One night, gazing into the abyss and seeing what the rest of my life could consist of, I decided to throw in the towel.

Having now spent a few years in education in an administrative support role ('Remodelling the Workforce') I have had a chance to see at close quarters what teaching consists of and to get to grips with educational jargon. It is no longer alien to me. I have also seen that the Government's much vaunted 'career paths' for support staff in schools are not going to materialise - that would require money. I figured I was ready to have another go at the massive box ticking exercise that is teacher training. So, I decided to apply for a Primary PGCE place. In spite of many years of experience as a mum/helper with primary age children in a school setting (though my work experience is in a secondary setting) I was knocked back on not having enough up to date experience. It seems that in spite of claiming to encourage 'mature' adults to become teachers, they first have to renounce their right to a full-time, wage-earning job to do so (and, by extension, pension rights - a big ask if you want my opinion!). I am lucky in that my Headteacher was incredibly supportive and was at the time allowing me to take time out to spend time in local primaries. But as my experience was not there at the time of filling in the form, the teacher training college (they call themselves a university these days, but personally I'm not so sure!) didn't take it into consideration.

I had happily forgotten about it all until last week when the college sent me the feedback form from my last application. I already knew the reasons but this letter just unsettled me. I had decided to leave it alone. I don't know whether this is what God wants for me and no amount of prayer and asking the question seems to produce the answers I need. I have decided I will apply but if I get the knockback again, I know it is not meant for me.

Watch this space.



Wikkid Person said...

In my (Canadian) experience, all of that complicated curriculum stuff and crazy planning is just for while you're learning. The sad fact is that, once you're working in the system, many teachers in many schools are using the same methods used in the 60s, and no one really knows or cares. Our curriculum changed completely in 1999, and we still refer to our 7 year old curriculum as "the new curriculum" as if it is something we're still coming to terms with.

There is a lot of tradition to the profession, and students and parents alike tend to expect things to go a certain way. We haven't given A's and B's for about 20 years and students still say "I got an A" and so on. The "levels" system is purely qualitative, yet they gave us a chart to somehow "convert" qualitative assessment to percentages, as if that magically makes the system quantitative again (ie. it takes us from "I got a level 3. That means I'm performing right at provincial grade level." to "I got a 75%" which should by rights be a 100%, shouldn't it, with "I am going above and beyond what is expect and required for my grade level" needing to be something higher than 100%?)

Kherakamile said...

I studied to be a music teacher for year. After trrying to teach a very diverse class of year tens how to write a song with xylophones and recorders...well I thought I'd better knock the crowd control on the head and start really helping them I became a youth worker!

God will show you his plan for you - but I know patience is hard!!!