This week was tough. Not tough in any sense that you feel you’ve developed in a personal or professional sense. This week was tough because it felt like you were going backwards. I really struggled to write this week’s blog.
I have not hid my disapproval of series of lectures to ‘help’ you become a teacher and this week a lot of people spoke of the same feeling. When I say a lot, I mean nearly everyone. They all had the same rhetorical questions that I had – ‘Would it not be better to be in class?’; ‘Does anyone else think this is a waste of time?’. That is not a ringing endorsement of the way things are done. There is quite a high level of disgruntlement across the group and it merely confirms what I have thought for a long time. University is not the place to train to be a teacher; the classroom is.
Monday morning we had our first workshop and we were left to our own devices for the majority of the time. The lecturer/tutor turned up in the second hour but we were all already in conversation about our experiences, swapping horror stories and success stories and tips. These conversations would take place over most of the week, and would be the highlight of the week. I always feel like I learn loads and I get plenty food for thought when the student teachers share experiences collectively. The second workshop towards the end of the day, we soon found out would not be attended by a lecturer/tutor so we all signed an attendance sheet, stayed for a half hour and scooted off. You would think that one your first day back to the university that lecturers/tutors would be eager to interact with the student-teachers…
Another area of discussion during the week was the second essay topic. We have to come up with an area of research that interests us and research it. I’ve had a few ideas floating around my head. I was told to avoid my first choice (deeper integration of ICT in early stages) so I have been looking at two other areas recently – cooperative learning strategies and positive reinforcement. As my next placement is with early stages, the research will be focused on that. Any hints/tips/suggestions would be taken on board and greatly appreciated.
On Thursday I had a meeting to discuss the essay I had failed. The tutor was very patient and went through everything with me – areas to improve, areas to pay specific attention to but what was most appreciated is the fact that the first thing they said to me was ‘Failing an essay doesn’t mean you’ll be a bad teacher’. Everyone had said that to me and even when I felt bitter about failing, that was the train of thought I had taken but it was nice for the tutor to say it and I made sure to tell them that after. I have the failed essay rewritten and resubmitted online and I have to submit a paper copy of the new draft tomorrow morning also but that is ready to roll and in my school bag.
Friday in ICT we looked at making Powerpoints/Prezis more interactive and it is certainly something I had not previously considered but will look to weave in to my practice as an extra tool.
I do apologise about the briefness of this week’s post. It reflects a week that was brief in what we learned about our future careers as teachers. The weeks I am on placement, I work hard to summarise my thoughts and reflections as much as possible to prevent a stream of consciousness; James Joyce I am not. The weeks of lectures and workshops, I mostly reflect on what the other student teachers and I talk about. A few of the student teachers mentioned the apprenticeship idea I had written about a few months ago on this – https://spellingitoutblog.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/the-university-process/ and all I have spoken with agree that this would be a far more productive way to train to be a teacher.
This coming week, I plan to start getting a mind map together for my essay so if I make a bit of progress with that, or even if I don’t – I’ll let you know how I get on.
Bye bye. Bye. Bye bye bye bye bye bye. Bye.