Monthly Archives: March 2016

‘Review of Needs’

After much tooing and froing I have now booked my ‘Review of Needs’ at my Undergraduate University on the same day as I had previously arranged, just 15 minutes earlier. This means that I’ll be travelling through rush hour but I reckon if I set off when Greg does at 8 I should have plenty of time for the 45 minute journey and I can always get a coffee and take my Kindle while I wait. In fact, it’ll be a good opportunity for us to try out our morning routine. All’s well that ends well, I hope. Watch this space.


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I feel like I haven’t written for ages. I think that’s partly because I’ve just been working, reading and auditing my current knowledge for my PGCE but also I’ve just been wishing my time away until Easter. Finally it’s here and I’m taking the opportunity to have a rest, read for pleasure, spend some time with Greg and bully him into doing some work on the house. My brother has been to visit the house for the first time this weekend and my Mum and her partner are coming to see next weekend.

I’ve also sorted my DSA Assessment of Needs, or thought I had. Despite me ringing up to clarify, sending all my paperwork off, booking my appointment including arranging time off and booking a parking space etc it seems that I cannot do my assessment at my University where I’ll be doing my PGCE, despite me ringing up to make sure that this would be OK. I have to go back to the University where I did my undergraduate degree and have my Review of Needs there. This makes no sense to me, I mean, what if I’d done my undergraduate degree down in London? I’m very angry about it however, I’ll be ringing up to have it all sorted tomorrow after the bank holiday and I’m hoping that I can book it for the same date as I’d booked the other one. Watch this space.

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What it’s like to have Dyslexia.

For those of you that didn’t see this on facebook, I thought you might find this interesting.

‘This is what reading is like if you have dyslexia.’

While I can’t say that this is exactly what I see, it is the best representation that I’ve come across. The words ‘shimmer’ and move around on the page and I used to dyscribe it as like a holograph. Sometimes the words ‘dribble’ down the page, as well as across, like a waterfall. So, for those of you teaching Dyslexic or SEND students – here’s an insight!

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Pre-Course Information!

What a day! So after an impromtue evening out for Mother’s Day on Sunday I came home to an email sitting in my inbox.

PGCE Secondary Pre-Course Information – NOW AVAILABLE‏!

Being a glass or two glasses of wine down I only skimmed the email to get a gist of the contents and duly forwarded it to my work email for printing this morning. I got to work early and printed all the documents, I even managed to read and highlight them all in and amongst work, students and classes.

The first thing to do was fill out some forms and email them to my course tutor which I’ve done this evening. I then found out the timetable of what’s to come.

  • Friday 2nd September – Enrolment
  • Monday 5th September – Programme commences (8.30 for 9.00 am start)
  •  26th September – 30th September – Induction week
  • 26th September – 13th October – Professional Practice 1
  • 3rd October – 8th December (Monday-Thursday) – Phase 1A Placement (a gradual move from observation to planning and teaching)
  • 3rd January – 23rd February  (Monday-Thursday) –Phase 1B Placement (developing competence in planning, teaching and assessment)
  • 13th March and 31st March – Professional Practice 2
  • 13th March – 17th March – Induction and Preparation
  • 20th March – 23rd June – Practice 2 Placement (consolidating competence and addressing areas in which to excel)
  • 26th June – 7th July – NQT preparation period
  • 7th July – End of Programme

So that’s what you’ve got to look forward to! :p

Now, here’s a list of the things I either need to do or have done. Having written it, I now realise that I need to prioritise it. I’m not convinced that even between now and September, with having a full time job and moving house that I’ll be able to have it all done so I’ve colour coded it Green – must do, Amber – do if possible and Red – do if I’ve done everything else because either I’ve already done it once, it won’t take too long or I can do it ‘on the job’.

  • Professional Skills Tests DONE!!! 😀
  • Visit a local Secondary School – I work there.
  • Conduct an audit and draw up an action plan to address an area of weakness. If you remember I was concerned about starting because I wasn’t sure if I was going to have to do in ‘en-course’ but it sounds like they want me to make a start so after I’ve finished ‘Teaching English: Developing as a Reflective Secondary Teacher’ I’ll make a start on that.
  • Begin to address subject specific work suggestions, now, when I received my interview feedback, the only thing they specified that I needed to work on was “Candidate is continuing to develop her Language Subject Knowledge. We would recommend that you also spend time looking at how teachers break down aspects of grammar for teaching at KS3 in preparation for your own teaching.” So that’s something I need to begin to address. My dyslexia is always going to be there which puts me at a disadvantage when it comes to spelling, punctuation and grammar and there can be no excuses for that but it’s certainly something that I will always have to  work at improving. I think that this will tie in nicely to the Audit and the action plan to address an area of weakness  though (see above) which makes me feel like it’s a bit more manageable: addressing four jobs on one.
  • General course reading, which I feel like I’ve made a good start on with ‘Teaching English …’, the revision guides and the exam syllabus that I researched for my interview but I’ll revisit them if I have time and also read some more general children’s literature and literature on the curriculum including Shakespeare. Having done an English Literature degree I feel that I’m pretty well up on Shakespeare and literature in general. I also took a British Children’s Literature module so some of the texts they suggested I’ve already read some of which I haven’t.
  • Familiarise myself with the Teaching Standards and the National Curriculum I learnt these for interview.
  • Sign up for ‘useful websites’ such as: Sec ed; Ofsted; The Times Educational Supplement (I even looked into subscribing but I couldn’t believe how much it was going to cost!) and The Guardian. They’ve asked me to keep abreast of current developments which I certainly did for my interview but I really don’t have the time or money to be buying these every week so I’m hoping that with all the other prep I’m doing and working in a school will keep me as up to date as is needed.

I have a lot to do. First things first. I’ll finish reading ‘Teaching English: Developing as a Reflective Secondary Teacher’ because I only have two chapters left and then I’ll make a start on my skills audit. Let’s see how that goes for now.

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A day in the life of a SLA.

“Kat would you just cover this lesson please?”
*Duly goes to lesson.*

“Ah I don’t think S is here today …”
“Miss, my pen has leaked!”
“Ah, Miss Brown would you just mind clearing that up?”
*Takes student to faculty room – locked.*
*Takes student to closest bathroom – no paper towel.*
*Grabs tissue paper and shoves it into the offending pocket getting ink all over hands.*

*A voice in the corridor.*
“Miss, I don’t think that handwriting session is going to work for me as it clashes with blahblahblah.”
“Right, M come with me. T you can go back to lesson now.”

*While comparing timetables in a corridor.*
“Miss, A has got their phone out but they’re refusing to hand it over, please could you ring BFL.”
“Right, M come with me.”
*Goes to faculty room – locked.*
*Walks to BFL, delivers message.*

“Right, M come with me.”
*Sort’s timetable clash to the satisfaction of 6 parties.*

“Miss, I can’t open this file.”
“Ah well D, speak to Miss Brown – she’s really great at computers!”
“Is she?”
*Student sounds surprised.*

*Fixes file.*

*Goes and does photocopying.*
*Wolfs down snack bar.*
*Goes to lesson.*
“Hi Miss, D isn’t here, they’re having a meltdown in the faculty room.”
“How? I saw them less than 15 minutes ago!”
*Sets off for faculty room, glances down at watch – 10.05*

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Student Finance & DSA.

So, I’ve wasted no time getting this underway. As soon as I knew I’d met all the criteria of my offer and Student Finance opened, which has actually happened within days of each other, I made a start.

I went to the  Student Finance website and started a new application for the year I wanted (2016/17). It was a pretty self explanatory question and answer session and all I needed was my National Insurance number and passport.

Things were a little more complicated for me because I also have to apply for DSA (Disabled Students’ Allowance).  Once I’d applied for Student Finance there were a couple of other documents that they asked me to print, fill in and attach a copy of my previous assessment of needs to … I’ve done this and sent it off. It was all fairly easy and to be honest it seems a little too good to be true right now. I haven’t had to fill out any details of what I earn etc yet so I can only assume that more complicated forms are yet to come. I know that, for sure, I will probably have to attend a further up to date Assessment of Needs and then I will have to get this confirmed by the university and then the funding body before I can arrange delivery of my equipment and support …

Still I’m pleased that I’ve got the ball rolling and it’s an exciting prospect. The sooner I can get things started the sooner I can get things in place and maybe I can miss the rush!

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