A Welcome Break

Placement finished and a few days to relax for myself are in order. I am so so tired. That week of continuous was the hardest week of work I’ve ever done. 6am starts and asleep at around midnight; the only time I wasn’t doing anything for teaching was when on the bus or having dinner. Every other minute of the day was spent looking for or making resources, laminating, cutting, printing, writing plans, writing reflections, laminating, cutting, laminating, cutting. I hear the whirr of a laminator when I close my eyes.

Here’s some of the valuable lessons I learned from placement for the early years

  • A noisemaker is a life saver – I used a tambourine to get everyone’s attention – if the kids heard the tambourine – they knew it meant freeze on the spot.
  • Competitions work – I told them it was a competition to see who was quietest person lining up to go for lunch and quietest person walking the line through the school. We had a competition for who was most sensible and quiet when going to wash hands – boys vs girls. We had a competition for who listened best when we were in the gym hall. It worked all the time.
  • 7am is a perfectly acceptable time to be in your classroom getting ready for the day ahead.
  • The puppet is God. Any mention of Benny and every pair of ears were hungry for more info relating to Benny and the magic door he came through for visits. Benny only came through the magic door when everyone was working hard and working nicely with their partners.
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  • The activities you think will take 5 minutes will take 15 and the activities you think will take 15 minutes will take 5.
  • Over-preparation is the best way to avoid the fear of “What do I do with them for the next ten minutes?”
  • The kids will fight over anything. Be vigilant for hints of a dispute – “That’s my rubber!” or “Timmy Joe skipped the line!” or “Sue Ellen said I am not her best friend anymore”. Ignore comments like that and it can explode. [Names are fake, events are not].

My continuous went well. I learned a lot from it and as I said, it was exhausting.

I had two highlights of the week. First, I had a writing lesson with them on Wednesday morning and to spark the children’s imaginations for writing about a jungle adventure, we listened to a 5 minute clip of the noises of a jungle and we used it to think about the different things we might see. At one stage, one of the children decided we were on a boat on the river in the jungle and they started singing “Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream” so I added in “Look over there, a bunch of piranhas, now it’s time to scream – AHHHHHHHHHH”. Everyone wrote very imaginative stories and I was very happy with that.

The second highlight of my week was definitely the drama lesson on Thursday. I learned a lot from the week previously and I decided to try my hand at writing a second story for them to tackle dramatically speaking. The story was called Walking In The Jungle and here it is. Please feel free to comment on the quality (or lack thereof) of the story and certainly feel free to use it/alter it and if you do, please let me know how it goes!

 

“Walking through the jungle, what ever will I see?

My jungle hat is ready, will you come with me?

We will see all the birds, flying over trees.

Parrots, toucans and hummingbirds, pretty as can be.

We will see slithering snakes, sliding on their belly

If I see an anaconda, my legs will turn to jelly!

If I see a python, I think that I will run,

A bite from a pythons fangs I know will not be fun!

Don’t forget the spiders, they are everywhere

They could be on your arms or legs, or even in your hair!

Oh no, we can’t see anything in this scary fog

Everyone freeze! A poison yellow frog!

If we move away slowly, he won’t see all of us.

I know we are all really scared, but please don’t make a fuss!

Look up, look up! Can you see the monkeys?

The gorillas, the lemurs and the chimpanzees.

Go around this tree and down the hill,

What have we bumped into? A lion who wants to kill.

But don’t you worry. We haven’t met our doom.

We’ve been using our imaginations…and never left the room!” 

The lowlight of the week was definitely Thursday evening. I had a lesson planned for looking at Victorian games and a music lesson but the children were in a strange humour and I got so disheartened with them not paying a bit of attention but my class teacher told me that they did not pick up that I felt disheartened and even went as far as to praise me for recognising that the Victorian lesson had come to a natural conclusion and I went on to the music. I was pretty disappointed how those lessons went though and I told the class teacher how I felt about it.

I have done very little today apart from clean the flat a little bit while listening to some Tom Jones and watching House of Cards. Tomorrow looks like it will be much the same to be honest. If I find a good fictional book then I will probably stay up half the night reading that. Tuesday will be the day I start this research essay.

I think I will leave it there for now! Hope everyone had a nice weekend. Grand stretch in the evenings now!

P.S. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mammies. To my own Mammy dearest, thanks for everything you’ve ever done for me, which would be a considerable list! About 15 years ago on a Sunday evening like this, you were probably drying your kids hair after their baths and we’d all be watching Glenroe! “Well holy God” as Miley would say.

It’s also the birthday today of someone very important so Happy Birthday to you! 🙂

Home Time

FINALLY! It feels like I’ve been waiting for this day for ages! It’s time to go home for the Christmas – a long day ahead but when I’m sitting on my sister’s beanbag in front of the fire tonight, I won’t be worrying about a journey then.

Monday was a weird day. Monday’s workshops was about recognising problems as a teacher – signs that all is not well with a child but also strategies with dealing with the issues you may encounter as a teacher (and who can help). It seemed a worthwhile experience. The second workshop was all about our essay for next year which I’m slightly flummoxed about – it’s group orientated research but individual essays, I think? I’m sure it will all become clearer in due course. Sandwiched between the two workshops were two lectures. I’ve expressed my opinion on lectures before – how I believe nobody learns anything from the inevitable slideshow/powerpoint orientated lectures. Nothing has happened in the last few weeks to change my mind. Very few people truly listen to the lectures. I don’t mean to be disrespectful when I say that – it’s just…true. Every so often a lecturer puts this quote up on one of their slides –  “If they can’t learn the way we teach, we teach the way they learn” (excuse my ignorance but I believe Dr Ivar Lovaas said this). The irony dawns on me every time I see this – the majority of the people reading that slide aren’t learning anything – and yet they persist with these lectures that people only seem to go to to sign in. Harsh? Yes, but a harsh reality. If I was observed to have lessons next year on probation that the majority did not engage with, I’d be told to change my approach, there is no alternative. Spending half our year going to lectures that we are not learning anything from…well, all I’ll say is that it doesn’t sit right with me!

Tuesday there were no lectures or workshops but I did have a meeting with my tutor for my placement after the Christmas. I am very much looking forward to that (but I’m not hoping for a quick Christmas). Tuesday was also the first time I played the PS3 in about 2 months! I was looking for The Walking Dead game (season 2 of the episodic game) which is released for every system EXCEPT for PS3’s in Europe. Not cool. If you play video games, please try Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead. It’s an emotional roller-coaster! Potential Christmas present for a loved one? A zombie game?

Wednesday was the day I had earmarked to clean the flat before we return home to the west of Ireland. The flat looks well. Ran out of the aul Shake n’vac near the end but I powered on. Wednesday was also one of my mates’ birthdays so a big group of us went for dinner and to see Anchorman 2. There were a lot of funny moments in it but it just never scaled the heights of the first one. Have you seen it? Maybe you thought it was better. I thought it was an excellent movie but I think the best way I can describe it is – the original Anchorman is one of my all-time favourites but Anchorman 2 may not make that list.

Today is all about the travelling!

I may have mentioned previously that I had been nominated for the Edublog Awards in the category of best new blog. I’m delighted to say that I won! I wasn’t expecting that when I was announced as a nominee! I want to thank everyone so so much that reads my weekly ramblings and for voting for me! It’s such a nice feeling to win, especially finding out on the same day I’m travelling home. When I told my mother about what I’d been nominated for she said she was very proud of me. I text back to her “Only took you 23.5 years to say that you were proud of me” but she came back with a cracker of a reply – “Only took you 23.5 years to do something useful”. Well played aul’ lady, well played.

I’ve been reading so many of the blogs/websites of the other nominees and in the best mobile app category, the winner was AR Flashcards. It’s an amazing idea and one which I have no doubt will be HUGE. Check it out here – http://arflashcards.com/. I am also delighted to see autisticandproud won his category (best student blog) – http://autisticandproud.wordpress.com/. I absolutely love this blog – I find it inspiring. I could not be happier for him on his win – certainly deserved.

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I am in two minds about updating the blog over the Christmas. In case I don’t, I hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas and New Year and I hope Santa is good. I’m HOPING he’s got my letter. If you have any travelling to do to be home for the Christmas – safe journey.

Bye-bye! Bye, bye, bye bye bye, bye bye bye bye bye bye, bye.

Fireside

I had a great start to the week. I managed to get my team promoted again in Football Manager. There was also the little matter of getting that 5000 word essay done, which was a cinch!

Oddly, Monday’s workshop was on the topic about the essay we had just done. Maybe it’s just me but I find it strange that they didn’t choose to do this BEFORE the essay to help people out. The tutor started off with a quote up on the whiteboard that suggested bad behaviour was a result of bad teaching. He looked at us and asked – ‘Who agrees?’. I disagreed. I told him I disagreed. I said that while sometimes, bad behaviour could be the result of boring lessons or inefficient behaviour management; you could not say that about every case. It’s too easy to blame the teacher for everything but surely their behaviour and attitude starts at home? We had a lecture Monday afternoon introducing us to the essay we will be doing in 2014! The lecturer told us that the essay was going to be based on something ‘people would be interested in’. One witty member of the audience asked ‘So will you be giving us the topics in good time or just before we go on placement like the last essay?’. The room burst in to laughter. It was a bone of contention among the student teachers but this person’s quip cut the tension with a knife. Perfectly timed.

Tuesday was art day. Art is always good craic. The lecturer/tutor explains and demonstrates what we are doing and after that just leaves us to be creative. We were working with ink and printing. I successfully managed to cut out a paper peace symbol, just the right size to fit on a roller. Here is my result – Image

I know what you are thinking – “Is this person wasted training to be a teacher? Surely they are a contemporary artiste extraordinaire?” The answer of course, is yes. I am supremely talented. I did not win the Credit Union Under 8’s art competition by chance.

Thursday we had PE/Dance, Drama and Maths. We witnessed some incredible dance moves, from one person in particular. Drama was about basic sign language. I know two of my sisters are learning sign language at home and that is definitely something I want to do. I think it could and should be something we all learn. The maths workshop was about problem solving. This was right up my street, they were all very similar to the riddles I had given the kids when I was on placement. On the topic of riddles actually – my girlfriend’s aunts were reading some of the riddles that I mentioned in previous posts. I received a text asking for the answers quick because they were close to a ‘pistols at sundown’ style showdown over the answers! We averted that crisis thankfully.

Last night, myself and my girlfriend went to visit my sister and her boyfriend. We had not yet seen the bbq hut my sister’s boyfriend had built. He’s a joiner. He made the most amazing bbq hut – here’s the fire we sat beside until about 10.30 last night – Image

The door of the hut splits in two so we opened the top half of the door, chatted and chilled out. We didn’t cook a bbq with it, yet.

Last week of university starts tomorrow so looking forward to finishing and going home for a few weeks. We’re travelling home the Thursday so not long to wait.

Hi ho, hi ho, soon off to home I go!