Saturday, November 24, 2007

PGCE Day 60 - School placement halfway mark

Two weeks into the first block placement. It has felt like the longest two weeks of my life. Getting up at 6:10 and going to bed at midight or beyond is beginning to take its toll. The past two Fridays have consisted of me having a relax on the sofa in front of the TV but before the opening credits of Eastenders, I've been giving it Zs.

School is great. The kids are a delight and already I'm very fond of them. I've found Spanish (my 'specialism', you remember) a nightmare. This school is a centre of excellence for the teaching of Spanish and the specialist teacher who teaches them and the native speaker are superb. But the style is very much rapid fire questioning, games and songs. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I don't do rapid fire - in any language. The cogs of my brain need time to grind around if I am so much as making a cup of tea. I can't do games, 'cos I always forget who had the last go, who scored the points etc. But I like the songs. I am getting there but it is heavy weather. The whole lesson is in target language and it is difficult knowing what Spanish they know in order to communicate with them. It is very much a a matter of learning the cues. The key is that it should be fun and not stressful for them in any way (it is allowed to be stressful for the teacher, though!)

One thing I have discovered is that you never get a proper lesson in primary. There are always kids going out for their peripatetic music lessons, choir, ad-hoc assemblies, hymn practice or transporting Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to the hall. On Wednesday I was supposed to be doing English and Maths but the 'Legs Akimbo Theatre Company' were in doing a Macbeth workshop. I was supposed to be getting observed doing Spanish yesterday but then I was told that the Fire Brigade were visiting so Year 6 would not be doing lessons before break and after break they were helping move Christmas Fair goods. Part of me was relieved because it took the pressure off. But part of me wanted it over, since it now means I have to do two observations next week and the week after. Also I had spent until 1:00am Friday preparing my Spanish lesson. I could have had an early night! Next Wednesday my tutor from college is coming in to observe me doing literacy.

I find it is best not to be phased by anything and to expect the unexpected. I have been in Facebook contact with a lot of my colleagues and we are all finding it enormously stressful. I think tiredness has a lot to do with it. Many have been in tears at some point. Thankfully I have not been that low. The worst thing is the lack of resources. The thing about teacher training is that you have not built up a bank of resources and lesson plans. There is an expectaction that you spend hours creating your own worksheets/PowerPoints/card games/whatever. There is actually a wealth of stuff on the internet but it takes hours trawling through and invariably it is crap or doesn't do exactly what you want it to. I am also required to do two displays before I finish on 7th December. It matters not that this is one of the 24 tasks that teachers are no longer required to do, we have to put our stamp on the classroom environment.

I feel a bit bad about wishing this time away, since there are actually so many positives regarding the school, the staff and the children, but I'm finding the whole experience so draining.

His Lordship is being an absolute tower of strength and has removed so much from my shoulders to enable me to concentrate on this. I cannot praise him highly enough.

Roll on 3:20 on 7th December.


Sonrisa said...

Aaah, he is the most wonderful person...we're both benefitting so much because he works so hard to support us, even though I don't see him everyday!

You're doing us all proud, so stay positive and I love you!

K xx

Bonita said...

Good post.