First Week of Early Stages

What a week. Sitting at the computer with a million things to potentially write about but I’ve narrowed it down to a reasonable amount I think. First thing to say – placement is tough but I’d take that over sitting anonymously in a lecture hall; every time. 

Monday was my first day on placement in my new school. I had been out to visit the school the week previously so I knew where I was going but admittedly I was exhausted on the bus out there. The bus journey to Birmingham on the Friday and the return journey were far from ideal preparation for placement. I met one of the class teachers who teaches the class on a Monday. They were very welcoming and gave me loads of little tips to use with early stages and has checked up on my progress during the week which is nice. 

One of the first things I realised is that practically everything is an opportunity to learn for these little kids. They register themselves and then proceed count everyone to see if everyone is in. That doesn’t happen until about 15 minutes after the bell because it takes them that long to get off their jackets and settle in the classroom. It may be the case that that should have been obvious to me but I can assure you I have been on a very steep learning curve this week.

Tuesday was the first day I got to observe the class teacher that will eventually write a report on my progress. Another teacher who is very encouraging and approachable – in that sense – I am very pleased. One of the key things I learned was the incalculable value of laminating sheets. One of the writing exercises involved practising words by looking at words sealed under laminate and then writing over them, wiping out the ink and trying again. I watched each lesson with keen interest and I have a million and one bullet points written in a folder here beside me. The class teacher also had many activities prepared for number bonds. I was to teach the same topic the following day so it’s safe to say there was smoke coming from my pen with all the notes I was taking. After school, I went to a quiet computer room in the university and prepared my lesson and had all my resources ready for Wednesday by the time I landed back in the door. I spent the remainder of the evening writing up observation notes, doing a little bit of research on learning theories (which I am paying close attention to with regards learning theories for the early stages) and I continued with my James Rollins book. Something strange happened that night however – I slept. Sounds silly but I generally don’t sleep well at all. I tend to sleep for an hour or two (max) and then I’m awake for another half hour/hour. I had tried several different techniques to sleep but with the nature of the student lifestyle and the teaching profession (and generally working late nights prior to this university course) I’d tend to up until late on a computer. Tuesday however, I didn’t look at a computer after about 6pm. I woke up on the Wednesday at 6.30am, hopped out of the bed and I don’t think I’ve ever been that bright eyed or bushy tailed! I’m a delight every morning but Wednesday, if you can believe it, I was even more of a delight. That energy was to last throughout the whole day…but…

My lesson on Wednesday was terrible. When typing this, my first instinct was to say that the lesson was a word that begins with ‘s’ and ends in ‘hite’, and that would also be an accurate way to describe how I felt it went. The activities were fine but I kept the children too long on the carpet and I totally forgot to show them how the games worked on the interactive whiteboard (which I had prepared). I started bringing the kids around to each desk to show them the activities and it struck me – my inner monologue went something like this – ‘I’m a gobsh1te’. That was the long and short of it! You have to take those things on the chin though, don’t you? I said to myself and the class teacher afterwards that I wasn’t happy with how that lesson went but I was okay with that in the sense that there was plenty to build on. 

Thursday (yesterday) I took a literacy lesson in which we were practising finishing words by spelling them phonetically, Phonics is a very new thing to me so I’m starting to get to grips with it after a week. Yesterday the lesson went grand, it didn’t set the world alight – solid but unspectacular – for any football fans – I’d say it was a Claude Makelele type performance! Taking the reading groups helped me gauge the literacy levels of the students before I start my continuous and helps inform my planning for next week (which I have started already). 

Friday/Today was a day I was looking forward to – not because it was the weekend, oh no. Today I introduced this guy (pictured below) to the class.



His name is Benny and he loves good behaviour! Benny told the kids Goldilocks and the Three Bears and quizzed them on it to make sure they had been paying attention. It was nice for me to take a back seat on that lesson 😛 The lesson went quite well but I got a bit of a shock when the class finished the activities very quickly. I thought I had planned enough activities, at the right level of challenge to keep the kids busy but they flew through the activities. Luckily, the class teacher had left trays out with other activities (unrelated to the lesson) for me to use in such an emergency so that was a crisis averted AND a valuable lesson for me. Plan plenty for them to do, and then double it! Hopefully that should ensure you don’t run out of things to do! 

I’ve a bit of planning to do this evening now for this week, especially with another rather busy weekend coming up! 

I think I’ll let ye go here. Hope everyone is keeping well and enjoy your weekend!

Bye. Bye, bye bye bye bye. Bye. Bye, bye bye bye. Bye. Bye. Bye.