All of the English cohort have made it successfully through Placement 1 (I understand there have been casualties elsewhere on the PGCE). Well done to us. I found that in the weeks in Christmas, I have finally begun to get into my stride. I knew my students names, I knew what to expect from them, they knew what to expect from me and now I have been cruelly ripped away. All of my students made a good job of looking sad when I told them I was leaving last week. This is probably a demonstration of how I have been far too nice to them and not nearly strict enough. Things will change when I reach my next school. I am going to be much firmer. I have even bought some behaviour management books off Amazon that are going to tell me how. Admittedly they haven’t arrived yet and I certainly haven’t read them but I have taken the first step towards becoming strict.
My 2nd university observation went much more successfully than the 1st one, although I still appear to be lagging behind everyone else on the grade scale. Everyone received at least one 2 (good) for their 8 standards on their 1st observation. I didn’t receive any outright 2s on my 2nd observation. Plenty of 2/3s but no 2s. Mr Mentor-vator has informed me that Professor Poppet is being much harder on me than on his last English student. Senor Coordinator asked if she doesn’t like my personality. They can’t understand why I am lagging behind everyone else and have tried to convince me that I am doing fine. Still, at least Professor Poppet’s verbal comments were nicer this time. On observation 1 I received a “that was disappointing” but she has upgraded me to a “well done”.
The Year 11 class I was being observed with behaved particularly well for me. I am terrible with technology and constantly break either the computer or the projector. After breaking both in our lesson the day before my observation, one of the Year 11 boys took it upon himself to work my PowerPoint slides for me so I wouldn’t have to touch the computer again. On the day of the observation he offered to do the same but after having a terrible technology based nightmare during the previous night, I had decided against using slides at all. The Year 11’s are quite a lazy class but I had arranged a marketplace lesson where they would create a poster and educate each other because they like drawing. One of the particularly moody girls turned up for the observation lesson, sat at the front table and said:
“I’ve been in a bad mood this week Miss and I haven’t done much work but I know that this lesson is important to you so I’m going to stay awake and try really hard.”
And she did. In fact they all did so I rewarded them the following day with Maoam bars. I’m beginning to think that teaching is more and more like training a puppy. Reward them when they learn to roll over and shout and point at them when they have been bad (but don’t hit them on the muzzle – that is frowned upon).
I was particularly sad to say goodbye to my noisy Year 9s. Whilst I have had the biggest battle with them, I have also had the most fun. They seemed particularly concerned about where I would be moving onto. In truth, it is still not confirmed. My 2nd placement school pulled out a couple of weeks ago and I know for a fact that Professor Poppet has tried to talk 3 other schools into taking me. I feel a bit like a leper that nobody wants near them. I shall be forced to walk the streets, ringing my leper bell and lingering near rubbish bins so I can dictate Shakespeare to any passing rats.
We had our first day back at university today but I was late in. I had decided to visit a school nearby that a job had come up in. Several of the others were intending to apply there but I thought I’d have a look around first. I had been to see a school in my home town that I absolutely loved but having been realistic about the length and cost of my commute, I hadn’t applied there. I was already concerned about visiting the school this morning. Professor Poppet had warned me that she wasn’t going to try to get me placed there because a previous student had found the English department less than supportive. I had also had a dream telling me not to apply (although this did coincide with teaching the noisy Year 9s about the witches prophecies in MacBeth).
The application form had to be in this morning and I had left it to the last minute. I couldn’t get The Boyfriend’s printer to work and called his school office and his work colleague before I managed to get hold of him and he talked me out of drop kicking it across his office. I needn’t have bothered. I was impressed but the number of things that the Head of English and admin assistant found to moan about during the length of my visit (IT resources, the leadership team, the new timetable, a possible GTP that was being forced on them etc etc etc). The final nail in the coffin was when the admin lady said she had spent every evening, during her first few weeks at the school, in tears. I left with my application form still in my bag. I had a joint tour with an experienced teacher from another school who was also less than impressed. Still, it was a learning curve. They say to go with your gut instincts (and your bad dreams) so I shall keep looking.
I would like to thank Mr Mentor-vator and Senor Coordinator who have been incredibly supportive throughout my placement and I will miss greatly. Mr Mentor-vator is a big ACDC fan so I shall dedicate this piece of music to him. Don’t read anything into the lyrics. He hasn’t shook me all night long, I just like this track.