Well I must be very naive. This coming Monday will see us start our 4 week placement and I’m looking forward to it. Admittedly, I’m nervous, but nerves are good. I haven’t exactly hidden my opinion that I don’t find the lectures to suit my learning style. I learn by doing, not by reading slides. No doubt I’ll make mistakes but I know I’ll learn from those and from the next 4 weeks.Last week was a ‘reading week’ BUT I ventured home to Ireland. I would have done some reading but with the very strict cabin baggage restrictions, I couldn’t fit my books or notes in to my suitcase. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! (Someone in my house in Ireland decided to make me feel guilty about not doing any reading, as evidenced in the photo below). To see the looks of surprise on some people’s faces when I appeared out of the blue was mighty and makes me very excited to go home in a few weeks time for you know what (it’s a day after Halloween so it’s too early to use the C word). My brother is infamous for his lack of enthusiasm for the morning and so when I woke him up to surprise with him with my return home for a week – it would be no exaggeration to say I approached with caution. I may or may not have poked him with the sweeping brush from a distance to wake him…all in all, I had a great week at home!
Monday saw us return for one last week before we begin placement and so I think people were eager to pick up any hints or tips that may be useful for when we start taking full groups and full days of lessons. Again, my Monday group came up trumps. We had a good chat about tips to help learning such as peer assessment and giving the kids a few minutes to answer one difficult question rather than one second to answer quick-fire questions. It’s not that our group came up with this – they are well established ideas that you’ll find in books and online but I find it nice to talk about these things with people that are in the same boat as me. We also had a good chinwag about the essays we have to do and I was delighted when the members of my group were impressed with the direction I’m planning on taking with it. I think it’s a great confident boost when your peers are encouraging of your ideas. It illustrates the power of peer opinion in a classroom/learning environment and it is a power I’ll be looking to harness over the next few weeks.
On Tuesday, we got to look at items from a local museum and anyone that knows me well would know I’m a bit of a nerd for ancient history and ancient civilisations – I was very excited to get to hold actual ancient Egyptian artifacts. The workshop gave me an idea to cover local history in detail with the kids, with specific attention to the surrounding area of the school and then either in the next 4 weeks, or in the new year when I return, to look at putting together a time capsule. Someday maybe, the time we live in today will be looked back on like we look back on the ancient Egyptians, or Romans. Who knows?
If I’m being honest, while there were lectures and workshops on every day this week, my main focus since Wednesday is getting things prepared for next week. I have most things done now and just tidying up and one or two small things need tweaking and then that should be me all ready to rock and roll for Monday morning!
One thing that cropped up in conversation yesterday was how strongly people felt that the lectures weren’t truly preparing us for our future careers but some of that resentment may be from all the students turning up for a lecture yesterday, only to be told after 15 minutes of waiting around for a lecturer, that it had been cancelled. I think the moment we were told was the most united we have been in the class so far this year – a collective tut-tut-tut.
The next few weeks I will be reflecting here on my days in the school – what went well, what didn’t go as I planned and lessons learned from the process. I’ve never been one to get too negative if things don’t go the way I want them to. Making mistakes is part of learning! My Junior Cert science teacher told us “The harder you work, the luckier you get” and I do truly believe that this is true in most (not all) circumstances, and definitely with teaching. The only other thing I remember from Junior Cert science is “Up the xylem, down the phloem”. Not sure that gem of info will be as much use to me though.
And now, I’ll go and finish these little jobs I’ve mentioned above so I’m ready to go BACK TO learn more about THE FUTURE career I’ve chosen for myself next week (See what I did there? I crack myself up)
If anyone has any useful nuggets of info, or little tips to help – please share them with me! If anyone reading this is in the same boat as me, best of luck!
Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I go…