TGIF

Wow. This week went well but it was far from easy. It’s not that didn’t enjoy it, it was just tough going. 

My laminator broke at the start of the week. As the placement is with the early years, the laminator is a vital resource. I shouted such a stream of abuse at that laminator. I’ve been using the laminator in the school so it hasn’t been a crisis here but it was a nuisance. My phone broke aswell. Naturally, the only way to fix the phone was to wipe everything off it. That was far from ideal. Oh ya, I also lost my memory stick at the start of the week too. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. Some kind soul sellotaped the memory stick to the wall on Wednesday so I got that back!

On the teaching front, it was a very difficult week but I feel as though I am learning from the challenges but these challenges do come thick and fast. Teaching on St Patrick’s Day was weird. I’d never experienced a school day on St Patrick’s Day and my sister living in a different part of Scotland text me admitting she too felt weird working on St Patrick’s Day. 

On St Patrick’s Day I taught a spelling lesson and a gym lesson. The spelling lesson went well but my timing was a bit off. Not everyone got a chance to try each activity. One of the activities was a noughts & crosses style game with the new spelling words which was a cool idea. It wasn’t mine. The person who came up with that idea I know reads this so I’d like to thank them for that idea! The gym lesson…oh my… The activities, my observing teacher told me, were perfect for a gym lesson. The class’ behaviour was all over the place and the class teacher’s suggestion was to use a whistle next time round. I’ll have to! 

Tuesday I was looking at number bonds and then Victorian schools. The number bond lesson could certainly have gone better. It was planned that I’d do the lesson outside but it rained. Thankfully I had planned for that possibility. Obviously, I am on placement to learn but it is remarkable how many little things you learn and realise during a lesson. You wouldn’t believe how often during the course of the day I say to myself “Jesus, how did I not think of that?”. I write things down on my lesson plans to remind myself and then a child runs up to tell me that their working partner won’t share the eraser and these little things slip my mind. The lesson on Victorian schools was a disaster. I just couldn’t get them to focus. I felt terrible after. I’ve had lows on placement but Tuesday was a new feeling of low. My class teacher spent a while trying to cheer me up and gave me loads of tips to help with the problems I had. I left the school, bought a packet of Skittles, returned to the house and just started planning for Wednesday. I’ve mentioned it before but it sometimes surprises me how well I switch off from school. 

Wednesday went pretty well. I had a writing lesson – we were writing about pirates – yaaaaaaar! I used positive praise very effectively on a class I had struggled with the day before and it worked a treat. The standard of the writing was good and it was particularly difficult to select star writers for the day. I felt elated after going from such a bad day on the Tuesday to the writing lesson going very smoothly. I also took a number bond lesson after and that went well aswell. It was one of the children’s birthdays so I had a cake and candles display to learn about the number bonds of 6. The area where I fell down was I had not considered the different ways they could record what they were learning. I had a worksheet from the day previous but the children were mostly finished those but the teacher told me a few ways to record the learning and consolidate the learning and I appreciated that feedback. 

On Thursday I took the class for a drama lesson and a follow up lesson on Victorian schools. The Victorian schools lesson went well according to my class teacher but oddly, I felt it could have gone better. I think if I was to identify one area of my planning that needs particular development – it’s judging how much activities are needed and how long they take. That will only come with experience though so I just have to keep plugging away. The drama lesson was an interesting one, and one I learned a lot from. I wrote a short story about a Pirate called Pete. It went like this – 

Pirate Pete sailed on the sea. His boots were filled with sand.

When he looked through his telescope, he was looking for the land.

He wanted to stop and fix his ship. It needed a coat of paint.

Pirate Pete felt so tired, he thought that he would faint!

When Pirate Pete stopped on land, he found a treasure map.

He got his ship ready to sail, and put on his pirate cap.

Pirate Pete needed help. His helper’s name was Casper.

They found a treasure chest full of gold, and lived happily ever after. 

I had come up with a drama lesson in which we would do actions for some of the story. I thought it would be helpful to scaffold the lesson a little by coming up with some actions to go with the drama but I focused too much on that. The class teacher pointed this out to me and when they said it – I was bitterly disappointed. I had worked hard on coming up with an enjoyable story and I ruined the lesson by structuring it too much. I was proud of the story I had written and I will look to write more short stories for lessons but I will certainly be taking care not to make the same mistake with regards the drama lesson. It’s only after dawning on me now that I know someone who teaches drama to young kids on Saturdays so I really should contact them to bounce ideas off them for drama! How have I only thought of that now?

Today went well. I forgot one or two things with a lesson on patterns, but again, it’s an experience I will learn from. When I make these mistakes, and I normally recognise it myself when I do, it’s always a little kick in the teeth but I do feel wiser from these. The teacher told me that I did well today and this week and I’m moving in the right direction so that is encouraging! 

I’ll leave ye there lads. I won’t lie, I’m going to return to a Criminal Minds binge. Unconfirmed reports of apple crumble and raspberry ice cream in the vicinity but as I said, unconfirmed reports. 

 

G’luck, g’luck, g’luck!

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Counting down

Another week done and one week closer to probationary year! A fellow student teacher told me this week that there was just over 5 weeks left of lectures and the rest of the time on the course is either holidays or placement. That sounds good to me!

I’d like to thank the Degree Source website for listing me as one of the top 10 influential student bloggers. It was a pleasant surprise and once again, I feel honoured that people read this and think it is worth reading. That was certainly a highlight of the week.

http://www.degreesource.com/top-10-influential-student-bloggers/

This week flew by pretty quickly. 

Monday’s focus was the next assessment. Another 5,000 words. This time it’s a topic of your choosing (well kind of, you choose a topic and then you have to get the university’s permission to research it) so my approved topic is collaborative learning and it’s effect on engagement with numeracy in the early stages. If any kind soul happens to have related literature or feel as though they can send me a few nuggets of wisdom/info on such a topic, or one closely related, please feel free to email me at spellingitoutblog@gmail.com.

Tuesday we had our second of two language workshops. Those two workshops were probably the best organised and most engaging we’ve had thus far. While the tutor was focusing on French in the classroom with the early stages – they passed on truly practical skills, materials and suggestions. We used an application called Sock Puppets to create funny videos of sock puppets with cartoon voices speaking in French. Everyone left with a smile on their face and everyone also recognised that what we had learned over the last hour or so was not only a fantastic way to teach French but also, you could utilise this in your classroom in any subject area.

Wednesday seemed to fly particularly quickly. We had a lecture at 9am in which we sang nursery rhymes and then had a two hour workshop on the usefulness of those nursery rhymes for building literacy skills. It was interesting to see how the nursery rhymes you sang along to as a child can be looked at through the lens of a teacher and see the benefits for building literacy skills.

On Thursday, we were brought up to a building far away from the rest of the buildings and then left there to engage with materials on computers with no sound. There was an instruction to bring headphones but we didn’t see the instructions until we got there! Thursday I also found out who my placement tutor is for next placement so that was a relief to find that out. I was one of very few who didn’t know. The tutor is very highly regarded by the students for being polite, approachable and helpful so I am looking forward to meeting them and getting an idea of what they are looking for from us on placement.

I knew in advance that there was no lectures on Friday so I offered to do a few hours for my employer. I thoroughly enjoyed working Friday. It was a nice change of pace before the weekend and meant I did not have a million emails to look at when I went in to work Saturday! Grand job.

Today I am supposed to be Skype-calling my good friend who returned home to India a few weeks ago. He swears in an Irish accent but that has nothing to do with me! 

I mentioned being listed as one of the most influential bloggers was a highlight this week. Another highlight was the #edchatie debate last Monday night. I’ve mentioned it before but Twitter is an incredible tool for student teachers and qualified teachers (or anyone with an interest in education). The #edchatie debate was on the use of the Irish language in schools. I ended up writing/typing/speaking Irish for the first time in six or seven years and while my grammar was slack, it was remarkable how much of the vocabulary comes back to you. I miss speaking Irish. I really miss it. I didn’t think I’d ever say that as a gasúr doing the Junior Cert but here we are!

 

Good luck lads. G’luck, g’luck, g’luck!