‘How’s your PGCE course going?’ A question I’m frequently asked when catching up with family and friends over the last two months! My mind flits between becoming a student again, meeting new people, assignments, folders, teaching percentages…’I’m absolutely loving it’ I reply. That’s the truth.
Changing professions is daunting; life is still manic with two young children to look after but I’ve always been used to long hours and hard work. With the right support from the Alliance, MMU, my lovely group of fellow students and of course my family, I think I can do this.
It’s early days on our 9-month journey but already we are teaching classes in our Block A placement and have been integrated into school life as a fellow teacher. My mentor has taken me under her wing and has allowed me to teach alongside her from day one. Being with the children from their first day of their Year 3 experience has been of huge benefit, not only have I seen the preparation that happens before the children enter the classroom but I’ve witnessed their progression from the shy faces on the first day back after a six-week holiday to the lively and confident group they have become in a matter of weeks.
There’s no better way of learning about working in schools than being involved. From staff meetings, training and curriculum evenings my fellow student Daniel and I have been welcomed into Elmridge Primary School with welcome arms and feel privileged to be part of such an outstanding school environment at the beginning of our careers. Victoria and Joanne are based at Park Road School in Sale and have equally enjoyed the challenges of our first term as trainees.
We’ve been given time to get to know the children, observe lessons and understand policies and planning before beginning to teach. We’ve appreciated the space to reflect and develop ideas rather than being pushed straight in from the start. We’ve certainly learnt a great deal from observing brilliant lessons across both key stages.
Being in the classroom between Monday and Thursday is working well, with Fridays either being Alliance led training or at MMU for lectures and seminars. Although it can feel strange being away from the class at the end of their week, it’s given us all time to catch up on how each other are doing in different schools and gaining essential skills to take us forward in our professional development.
At school our teaching percentage has grown from 30 – 50%, but this isn’t as daunting as it sounds, especially when you have your mentor’s support every step of the way and you are officially observed during one lesson a week. Every lesson so far has taught me so much; whether that be on behaviour management, resources or subject knowledge.
Seeing the impact you can make with individual children has been hugely rewarding. Explaining column addition to a little girl who’s been struggling and literally witnessing that ‘lightbulb’ moment before your eyes is magic! Getting the children to become ‘maths super-heroes’ and tackling problem solving wearing imaginary capes has been surprisingly beneficial.
We are now commencing work on assignments and our visiting tutors have been scheduled to see us in our schools soon. Workload is increasing, but I’m feeling ready to tackle more and excited to see what the future brings. ‘So, so far so good’.