Category Archives: life changes

Apologies once more.

I’ve been a bad blogger but sometimes that’s the sacrifice I make for being a good teacher.

Since I no longer have to do ‘formal’ lesson plans I’ve had so much more time. I’ve practically got my weekends back but it has meant working quite late during the week. I’ve also been spending a lot of time on my assignment which I finally finished on Friday (just before I got an email saying the deadline had been extended by a fortnight) *facepalm* never mind at least it’s practically done now.

I’ve also been preparing for teaching my new schemes of work after half term and for my external examiner observation next Thursday. I now know what I’m going to do I just have that one final lesson to plan and that’s it for this week.

Perhaps I can finally catch up on some of the other admin I have to do like reading, emails, gardening, ironing, campus pack, PSHE work and forms for my new job – that’s all for during half term though and next week will be all about getting me to the point where I can do that effectively over the half term.

My brother is here this weekend which has been a nice surprise and since we got the garden furniture we’ve had another visitor …

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We think (hope) he’s a stray.

In other news the garden is coming on well and I’ve had lots of homegrown radishes in my saladsIMG_20170512_163351_776

I don’t think there’s much else to inform you of. I hope I can get back into the swing of blogging next week.

TTFN x

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First week at PP2.

On Monday was a full on day with inductions, safeguarding etc and being given lots to read. It really was crazy. I also met some of the English Department who seem lovely and friendly.

On Tuesday I met all my classes and teachers. I have a mixed view I think 2/3 classes will be lovely but I have a really tricky year 10 class … no sight of any drama lessons but I’ll see if I can get involved in an after school club or something.

Wednesday was another busy day. I was roped into a Geography trip for the first two periods which was nice. I got to know some of the kids and staff and then I was shadowing a year 9 pupil who happened to be in my classes – bonus. In the late afternoon I found out I had an interview but didn’t have chance to do anything as we had mindset CPD after school. I really enjoyed it but was interested that everybody else seemed to take it at face value and be open minded. At other schools I’ve been at some teachers have been quite dismissive of it. Once I got home I was so tired I didn’t feel like I could face interview preparation so I chose my poems and did a bit of research and basic planning and vowed to get up early on Thursday. Which I did

Thursday was therefore yet another crazy long day. I got up at 5.45 and into school for 7.30. Setting off 10 minutes early saved me half an hour at the other end. So I planned for an hour in the morning then I had 1 free p5 which gave me another hour. Then I had a break for my first CM meeting and stayed until 6.30 getting the rest all done. I even managed to operate the printer as we were given our official lanyards, key and fob. I can now get anywhere in the school like any other teacher – It really makes me feel like an ‘official’ member of staff and on an even keel with my colleagues – it helps to add to my sense of professionalism.

On Friday I did my interview. I arrived and we were shown into a room. There was only one other candidate who was lovely. We were given an ‘in tray task’ which I’ve never had to do before – turned out it was marking – we got given a mark scheme which I was greatful for – and I felt that that went ok. Then we had a tour of the school which was nice. The pupils seemed lovely and it was only a small school with a real sense of community. Then I taught my lesson. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either. I reflected and prepared for the interview questions and tried not to panic. During break we met the rest of the English Department who seemed really friendly and supportive and finally was the interview. I was pleased with how that went. I really got into the swing of it and reflected critically on my lesson. I was then sent home with the promise that I’d be called later with feedback. I got the job! I got the job. I still can’t quite believe it. It’s such a relief to know that I don’t have to do anymore applications and the school is only 15 minutes away from where I live. The job is only 12 months maternity cover but it’ll get me my NQT year and a good reputation in a good school I hope. I’m thrilled.

Over the weekend I’m taking my mum to see the new Beauty and the Beast film with the rest of the family because it’s her birthday and also Mother’s day is coming up. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s our favourite and I hope it lives up to my expectations.

TTFN

 

 

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Half Term.

It’s finally half term and yet I don’t feel like there’s going to be any rest for the wicked. On Monday I spent all day just cracking on with my MTP. I have no idea how long this assignment has taken but I know that if I have to spend the same amount of time on every MTP I do that it will be simply unsustainable however, this is my second assignment and I’m putting in everything I can to it.

I did quite a lot and yet it’s not yet finished. I feel like if I can’t at least get a complete draft done by tomorrow I am going to panic. I have however, promised myself that I’m going to wash my car on Tuesday … There’s lots of other stuff I wanted to get done: a food shop, to call my dad, to make dinner and I still, as yet, haven’t done it … I didn’t have lunch till 3.30 because I’d been working none stop in an attempt to make some headway.

On Tuesday I continued to work on my MTP assignment. I’ve now completed a first draft which I feel really good about. Considering I only found out on Friday about parts of it I’ve now not only written 2000 words, to a good standard, in two day but I’m now also nearly 1000 words over the word count … I plan to cut that down during proof-reading towards the end of this week and next week.

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Organised Chaos

During Wednesday I spent the day researching starters and plenaries for year 7 literacy. I also made time to wash my car. I didn’t do a very good job though because Greg had forgotten to take the hoover out for me and also it started raining. As Mr A.Mole would say “Just my luck!” Still, perhaps tomorrow I’ll get chance to finish it off and give it a polish.

Thursday I did all house jobs. I caught up on what felt like a month of ironing, finished washing my car, hoed the garden beds and that took up all of the day but I feel really good about it. My jobs list is diminishing slowly but I’ve only got three days left. I was thinking about having a day off tomorrow but I think I’m going to try and get all the jobs that I haven’t yet done yet done tomorrow and then aim to have the weekend completely free.

On Friday I got around to finding some starter and plenary ideas. I didn’t plan them too in depth because I want to see where they’ll fit in with my CM’s plans. Later I want to plan everything for Monday so I don’t have to do it later.

I’ve done everything I wanted to do this half term so I’m pretty pleased about that but I’m still so tired. I need to make it through till Christmas now and I’m really nervous.

On Monday it’ll be 43 days till I finish at my placement for Christmas and then 49 until I finish at the placement completely … I hope I can make it through.

I feel like I have so many morals and that the actual teaching will be fine but I’m struggling with the lack of time and the lack of organisation and transparency … I don’t have time to breathe. I get up at 6.15, leave at 7, arrive at school for 7.30 ish, start school at 8.30 … leave school at 4 (sometimes 5), arrive home at 4.45 (sometimes later) and finally stop for dinner at 7 … I’m in school for 9.5 hours and work for 11 … and I’ve only been on placement four weeks.

At least this assignment is virtually over but now I have to concentrate on planning activities day to day. The next step is planning the first few weeks of lessons for after Christmas and then working together a MTP for all classes after Christmas … Wish me luck!

This weekend Greg and I went to Speke hall and had some quality time together. I’ve enjoyed really resting up and getting myself together for the next 6 weeks. I hope it’s enough.

TTFN X

 

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Last full week in Uni for a while.

Thankfully this week didn’t go as quickly as the last one however, it is now over and that means on Monday I start my first placement.

It’s strange, it was only on Monday that I found out where my placement’s to be. A ‘good’, according to OFSTED school in Warrington. I was very distracted all day, the sessions were on assessment, as I just wanted to get home and start researching and planning my journey.

The journey should take half an hour and they want me to be in by 8.20 for morning briefing so of cause I plan to arrive by 8 and will be leaving an hour for the trip (traffic) that means setting off at 7 and getting up at 6 but I’ll reduce this when I get more confident with the journey.

On Tuesday we pretty much had a day off which I was thankful for (gosh that seems weeks ago now). We talked about everything and my audit and they checked my filing system etc and where I was with my assignments. I made a good start on the one on Teachers and the Law and have been chipping away at it ever since. Although I’ve been finding it difficult to know how much and what else to write, especially on the 10 mark case studies.

Wednesday we had a lecture on reading & planning a reading lesson which was interesting.

On Thursday there was an overview of the Course assignments. If I’m honest I was pretty distracted that day too as I was building up to a migraine. I now have everything I need but I’m struggling to get everything into line to see the big picture. Right now all I know is that I start my placement on Monday, I have a plan for the first three days (more on that later) and my aim for the first week is to find my feet as quickly as possible and settle in. I think that’s all I can realistically expect.

I really want to get everything together and have some kind of bigger plan – where I know what I need to do and when I need to do it but at the moment everything is in piles and unorganised.

On Friday we were told about what the universities and more specifically the English Department’s expectations of us were which was reassuring if nothing else.

This weekend we are puppy sitting! Lottie, Greg’s sister’s dog is coming to stay and we’re also going to Ormskirk food and drink festival which we went to last year and was fantastic. On Sunday I’m doing a dry run to the school I’m at, just so that I’ve at least done it once before Monday. I’ll have the satnav but just to calm my nerves I think it’s for the best. I also need to iron my shirt again as it’s got a bit rucked in the wardrobe and things like that just – get prepared.

I think you can tell that I’m feeling pretty nervous but the real nerves have only really hit today. The fact that things have happened quite quickly means that I haven’t really had time to get nervous until I’m in the jaws of it, as it were … I think that’s a good thing.

So, the plan for next week thus far is: Monday – admin and observing the English Department, Tuesday – shadowing a year 7 in a variety of subjects and Wednesday – shadowing a year 10, again in a variety of subjects. Thursday and Friday I think will then be planned in conjunction with my Curriculum Mentor. Normally I would be in uni on a Friday but not this week so as to give us the chance to properly settle in. I’m going to miss it.

Wish me Luck.

 

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The first week.

I can’t quite believe we’re here already. What has happened this week I certainly wasn’t expecting. I’ll get straight into it.

Monday – I was expecting to wake up at the crack of dawn but actually, given how well the drive on Monday had gone, I was fairly relaxed. I think that part of me was in such a state of shock that I was actually doing this that it forgot to feel nervous. I woke up just before 7 and got ready without a hitch to leave at 8. I was at uni by 8.15. Enough time to walk down to the Education building for 8.30 and meet with my course tutor. I got everything out and took everything in as people arrived over the next half an hour and then we got started.

We had an introduction talk by our tutor for half an hour where we were given lots of handbooks and then we had our first ‘Reflective Professional Practice’ session with the course leader until lunch time. We then had a two hour lunch, which gave us time to sit and talk with some of our colleagues and one girl, Becky and I went to the library to geek it up. Then housekeeping for the rest of the day. Nice and relaxed.

I arrived home early, hot and … invigorated. I had lots to read, file and organise but felt really confident in the abilities of my tutors and the course. I managed to do quite a lot of, what initially felt like, an unreasonable amount of admin for the first day but not as much as I had wanted as a couple of friends of ours had got engaged and wanted us to go out for a drink or two.

Tuesday – Was much the same although I set off 5 minutes later and did notice a small difference with the amount of tail back on the way. God knows what it will be like after next week when all the other students arrive back. Thank goodness I have somewhere else to park *fingers crossed*.

The morning session was ‘What is English’ followed by ‘Introduction to Learning Services’ in the afternoon. This is when I began to feel a bit overwhelmed by how much I have to read as we were handed curriculums and frameworks and lecturers kept dropping in, just read this, document and that policy and do this admin … Once I got home I had to push back myself imposed stop time form 8 to 9 but I know I definitely do need that hour before bed to decompress.

Wednesday – Was the ‘RPP Conference’ covering legal issues and safeguarding. All day. I’ll be honest I was dreading this one. It could have been really dry in a very hot hall but the lecturer kept up a good pace which made it accessible. By the end of it I also felt quite good about my level of pre-existing knowledge, having read the Prevent Strategy, Fundamental British Values and other safeguarding things at my previous school but once again (you guessed it) there was a lot to read!

Thursday – I was really looking forward to. The sessions were ‘Reading should be fun’ in the morning and ‘Introduction to SMART technology’ in the afternoon. SMART technology was really very useful and I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to practise. The session also ended early which I was really grateful for as it meant I could do some serious catching up on reading.

I did have a small breakdown in the evening though and ended up emailing my tutor for some guidance. In the end I got lots done, in no small part due to the fact that one of our friends came round to make us dinner. He also insisted I have a glass of wine with the meatballs which helped and then I went back up stairs while the boys went to the pub. After that I had a small break through! (Perhaps it was the wine.) I found a text for our first assignment which I’m now really excited to write.

Friday – The sessions were ‘Grammar: Back to Basics’ which I was looking forward to as it’s one of my areas of weakness. I talked to my tutor about feeling overwhelmed and she pretty much said “Chill out!”, that all the reading I was given I didn’t have to do now – they were for reference later and that I was probably well ahead of the game. I know that’s logical but it did make me feel so much better. I really want to be the best that I can be and not to disappoint her or myself.

After uni on Friday I pretty much packed up all my stuff and Greg and I traveled to my mum’s house where I’m spending the weekend and where I am now. I’m sat on their sofa with my laptop and my cat is snoring next to me. It’s nice.

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Magic ❤

One thing that Pete said to us on Friday is try to have at least one day a weekend where you do nothing – that is sacred and I’m going to stick to that. I think that day for me will be tomorrow as my brother is coming to join us for a games day. I’m really looking forward to being all together and being looked after so that I’m really ready to really hit it next week. God knows where I’ll be by the end of it!

I just want to say that while some could say that this blog is a waste of my time – considering how much I have to do and I’m sure at times I’ll agree with them, but I love writing and in particular I love writing this blog. It gives me a chance to consolidate what’s happened over the past week and how far I’ve come and progressed and what I can do better next week. It is one of those vital times when I can do what I want for me which must become sacred over this period.

I am so grateful for my friends who have offered those ‘unwelcome’ interruptions this week. They’ve forced me to pause and come out of myself for an hour which I think has been so beneficial and something that I’ve never had before. In particular Anton, thank you for bringing meatballs to me ❤ Forever grateful.

TTFN X

 

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Preparation is over. Now the real journey starts.

Hey everyone,

I now only have one weekend, one solitary weekend, between me and my PGCE. I’ve been a bit all over the place this past week because it’s been looming and I know a change in the routine I’ve built here since moving in is coming. In some ways I can’t wait and in others I am, quite frankly, shit scared.

I feel a lot better this afternoon as I have completely enrolled this morning. I have my student card (complete with obligatory awful picture) and have been given lots of information.On the back of that I’ve also sorted out my work bag and folder, printed out a map etc and I think I’m all ready. Obviously that bag will be checked and double checked and re-packed numerous times before Monday.

I think I’ve also sorted the parking fiasco which is one of the biggest sources of my anxiety around starting uni. It may seem stupid but there you go. I now have … four or else five parking contingency plans ready to go. I have also signed up to the university’s Car Share Programme in the hopes that I might get some help there too but we shall see.

Today I also went to an SpLD meeting in the university library and signed a lot of paperwork so that’s one less thing to worry about once I start.

Since last I wrote I have also had my four hours of Assistive Technology Training. The software I have been given is Audio Notetaker,Inspiration, Read & write gold. The latter two I had during my undergraduate degree but the Audio Notetaker is completely new. I took lots of notes and felt like I got to grips with things really well. I just hope I don’t forget everything.

I have also recently received my timetable for the next week. In summary:

Monday – Welcome Talk & Subject Sessions

Tuesday – Subject Seminars, Learning Services, Students Union, Student Services

Wednesday – Teachers & the Law, Safeguarding & Child Protection

Thursday – Subject Seminars

Friday – Subject Seminars

To be honest in reading I have done very little. Greg and I went away for a long bank holiday weekend to Derbyshire and so I am still only halfway through ‘The Bell Jar’ which has taken it’s darker twist now and I would say is ‘gripping’ rather than ‘enjoyable’. That being said I finished ‘How to be a brilliant Trainee Teacher’ by Trevor Wright in a week and so was planning on starting ‘Getting the Buggers to Behave’ by Sue Cowley but haven’t managed it yet and to be honest, I don’t think I will manage to get it started before I begin on Monday. Once I get into the swing of things next week and I have a bit more of a handle on my workload and what I can expect then I’ll give it a go.

I guess that all that remains for me to do then is ask for you to wish me luck! Thanks so much for sticking with me thus far for my preparation and the move. I guess now the real reason I started writing starts. Hope you enjoy it.

TTFN X

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My Good Luck Flowers ❤

 

 

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A Great Start to the Week!

Hey everyone!

This week, let me just say, I am feeling really good. I hope the feeling lasts.

Since I last wrote I have mainly been painting the hallway: ceilings, walls and gloss is now officially all done and so is the house!

Somehow I’ve also managed to also read quite a lot. I finished Caitlin Moran’s Moranifesto and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which I talked about in my last blog post. I have also attempted to read Virginia Woolfe’s ‘A Room of Ones Own’ and ‘To the Lighthouse’. While I got quite far with ‘A room on One’s own’ I found myself skim reading quite a lot of it to try and get to the point. As a friend of mine said “I have read Virginia Woolfe but as she does have such a strong opinion i often feel railroaded by it. I appreciate her literary prowess, but honestly I find it all very exhausting.” And I think that sums up how I feel about her aswell. I attempted ‘To the Lighthouse’ to see if I had any better luck with that but found it the same and so, I’ve started Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar’ instead and that I’m really enjoying. In fact I only started if yesterday and I’m already a quarter of the way through it.  I also intend to carry on reading ‘Why are you shouting at us?’ by Beadle & Murphy which I’m ashamed to say I haven’t made much progress on despite being thoroughly impressed with it so far. One of the quotes I came across which really resonated with me and what I hope my teaching ethos will be is:

“It may very well be true, that of all the human virtues kindness is the one of true lasting value. When our descendants are dead and the memories of our existence are merely the microscopic grains of sand around the long-broken statue of Ozymandias or Thatcher, our kindness may leave some atomic reverberation in the universe. It is by the existence (or not) of those acts that we should judge ourselves.”

In addition to reading and contributing greatly to the relaxing aspect of my PGCE prep; I’ve also started going to a Yoga class in the village every Monday which I am really enjoying and I’m surprised how committed I’ve become to it so quickly. I also hope that lasts.

I’ve also continued my meditation. I stopped for a while but really noticed that stopping had a negative impact on my mood so started again. I am going to try and meditate everyday but also I’m not going to beat myself up if I can’t manage it when I start the PGCE properly.

Now, the news you’ve all been waiting for! DSA. First – glasses. My lenses arrived on Monday and on Tuesday I went into Specsavers to hand them over for fitting into the frames I’d put aside. To cut a long story short it turns out that the manager of my local Specsavers is Autistic. He was very interested in my lenses as he’d heard about them but never seen any. He held them up and exclaimed about how calm and still they made his world. I sympathised with him and explained that while my lenses might benefit him there were loads of different colours and he would have to seek his own consultation. I agreed to bring him in extra information the following day when I came to pick up my new glasses. In return he asked the sales assistant to ‘do all he could for me’ and I ended up with some very similar frames to those I’d picked out but made by Karren Millen – these for not a penny extra! Needless to say I’m very happy and they look like this:

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My new glasses ❤

I also have news on my equipment. My laptop has been ordered and should arrive at the suppliers on Tuesday. Once I have arranged a delivery day for that, hopefully late this week or early next, I can then go on to arrange a delivery day for the rest of my equipment and then arrange for the software training. Hopefully I can get it all done by the end of the month.

TTFN X

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