5 weeks down…

Morning! Week 5 has been done and dusted and it’s mad to think that I’m 5 weeks through my teacher training… 2 more weeks until half term. This time is FLYING: part of me is terrified, part of me is thrilled. 

Last week was a really positive week! 

I taught Maths every day I was at school (I’m not in on Thursdays, those are our training days!) and one of those lessons was an informal observation. I was observed on Wednesday – the kids had been struggling with word problems and picking out the important information and then using that to calculate, so I asked the teacher if I could go off script and do a lesson with just word problems. We did a lesson of word problems, with me doing lots of modelling, and they had some word problems to do themselves. I thought the lesson went well, and the teacher agreed. She had some absolutely lovely things to say about my lesson, which was brilliant! There were things from the observation for me to think about too. 

The class teacher has been really supportive of me in the past few weeks. She’s stayed about in the lessons I’ve been teaching and she always gives me feedback. We’ve been working on Journey (Aaron Becker) in English. I recommended it to her for something a little bit different for narrative writing, and we absolutely love it. The kids are really gripped. We use Talk4Writing in my school, so last week we spent time looking at the book (it’s a wordless book!) then boxing up the story and finally we got round to doing some shared writing. The class teacher sat in on one of my shared writing sessions, to see how I did it, and she had some more lovely feedback for me for that lesson too. I love creative writing, it makes my soul happy. I definitely feel like it’s one of those passion subjects for me!

We spent Thursday at university, looking at assessment for learning and our upcoming assignments. It was an up and down day as I don’t feel we were as productive as I would’ve liked, but it was lovely to see all of the primary people again. The upcoming assignment requires recording myself teaching, so I am interested in how that’s going to go (I don’t think I’m going to like doing that!!). 

There’s been other teaching going on – I did some French and History on Monday, then Guided Reading. Lots of variety, always brilliant!

Last week in 3 words?
Invigorating. Reassuring. Positive.

Remember if you’ve got any questions, I’m happy to answer them! 

S x

How time flies!

It’s Monday again, which means it’s a recap of my last week time! 

This week was week 4 and I was back to school after having 2 weeks of block training away from school. To say I was glad to be in school is an understatement. I was pretty nervous though: I’m not really sure why! I was worried that everyone would’ve forgotten who I was (ha, I know, unlikely!).

Monday
Monday was lovely. Seeing everyone again and the kids being glad to see me (and remembering who I was!) was lovely. It was like coming home! I spent time observing and working with groups in Y6. In the afternoon, I taught some History (The Great Exhibition), French (clothing) and we did some Guided Reading

Tuesday
Tuesday brought along a full day of teaching for me. I was in Y6 all day – we got up to all sorts and it was great to be back in my usual habitat, the classroom. It was incredible to build those relationships with the kids again and to get used to being around them again. There was a staff meeting on Maths reasoning after school, which was pretty informative!

Wednesday
Wednesday brought me a whole new challenge. Just as Tuesday, I was teaching all day. However I was teaching all day in Y1! It was a big challenge, and a massive change from Year 6, but I loved it. It exhausted me! From Phonics to doing some Talk 4 Writing, Maths to RE, we had a brilliantly productive day! The highlight of the day was definitely doing Venn diagrams with them and it working! The kids did some amazing reasoning using Venn diagrams too! After school, I had a meeting with my mentor. I’m going to have to learn to be kind to myself after these meetings. 

Thursday
Thursdays are my day out of school. We were at another local primary school learning all about Phonics. It was lovely to see all of my fellow SCITT trainees again and to be in another school, doing some learning and observing.

Friday
On Friday, I did some more observing and working with groups. The teacher did a brilliant lesson on personification in poetry and I loved it. More importantly though, the kids were all super engaged and loving it too! Friday pm is PPA time, so I spent the afternoon planning and doing things for assignments!

This week in 3 words? 
Exhausting. Invigorating. Home

Thank you all for the support on this rollercoaster of a ride! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. 

S x

SCITT update – week 3

It’s Monday again! As this post goes live, I am back in school, after 2.5 weeks of training at university and the training centre who are running my SCITT. If I’m being honest I COULDN’T WAIT TO GET BACK TO SCHOOL. My block training weeks were incredible and intense and overwhelming – I learned a lot and reflected a lot – but being in school is totally where my happy place lies! 

So what did last week have in store?

Monday
On Monday we were at a local 3-19 school for an EAL (English as an Additional Language) conference all day. There were some intense parts of the day, in particular when we were learning about the safeguarding of some minority groups, but overall it was informative. A few of the students from Year 10 came and performed a powerful drama piece titled ‘Colourblind’, which was thought-provoking. 

Tuesday
Tuesday took us back to one of the local primary schools for Day 2 of Teaching and Learning. Having had all of my experience in the same school, I love being able to observe how life runs in other schools. We had the chance to observe a phonics session and then a reading session within the year group we are having our first placement in. Those observations were both really interesting and I definitely magpie’d a few ideas from them! We also got to plan a science activity based on our year groups and then 2 of the group got to deliver it while the rest of us watched on! 

Wednesday
Seeing new schools totally different to my school is always an interesting part of this and on Wednesday we visited a school in the middle of the countryside. Our focus of the day was SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) and I took a lot away from the day to think about and consider in my own practice. 

Thursday
Thursday was another university day (I am officially a student at Newcastle University, I know, how fancy am I!?). We were set up in a very posh, technologically forward room (there were boards EVERYWHERE, I loved it) and spent the day looking at pedagogy and the importance of subject knowledge. Thursday’s session definitely calmed my nerves about our first PGCE assignment, which is brilliant. 

Friday
On Friday, we were back in our training centre and the focus of the day was training standards and looking at evidence collection and what we can use as evidence. It was very useful to do BEFORE we started collecting evidence. The gentleman delivering our session was very funny too!

How am I feeling in 3 words?
Calmer. Eager. Tired. 

I look forward to the challenges this week holds!

Remember, if you have any questions I am more than happy to answer them! 

S xx

SCITT: 2 weeks down!

Last week was week 2 of my SCITT training (teacher training) and since my SCITT: how did week 1 go?! post went down so well, I figured I would keep blogging tell you all tell me you either don’t care or don’t want to read about it! Ha!

Monday
Monday was spent looking over the teacher’s standards and thinking about what motivates us to want to be teachers. For me it’s easy: I want to be a teacher because I want to make a difference. It’s a cliche but it’s true. I want to make a difference. We spent time looking at the ethos and mission statements of schools. It was an interesting day – but a lot to take in, especially when it came to the standards. That’s going to be an ongoing theme of my year, I can sense.

Tuesday
On Tuesday, we weren’t in our usual setting! We were based in a lovely little first school out in the countryside. It was about half an hour’s drive away and I got a lift from one of my lovely SCITT friends. I have to say, one of my favourite things about this process so far is getting to see all of the different schools around! I’d spend my year visiting all the schools I could get to! We spent the day looking at different learning styles and how these impact on the way we plan and deliver lessons. Another lovely thing was talking about a little activity called ‘I Wish My Teacher Knew’, which I have actually done before! (If you’re interested in what my kids told me: I Wish My Teacher Knew…). I really enjoyed Tuesday as we got to plan a short activity and do it with a group of children. I’ve really missed being in the classroom so it was great for me to finally be doing again. We had to use a painting as our stimulus and plan an activity around that: our activity was a bit of drama in the jungle using the picture below as stimulus. 

Related image

Wednesday
On Wednesday, we were in a different primary school looking at literacy: reading in particular. We looked at what it means to be literate, what the curriculum specifies around reading and how to foster a rich curriculum centred around books. We spent some time choosing a book and then planning a focus for what we would want the children to learn using that book. (I naturally pilfered ‘The Building Boy’ by Ross Montgomery and David Litchfield, BECAUSE IT IS WONDERFUL and I will most definitely be using it when I have my own class). We got to go around the KS2 classes and do very quick observations too! There were shout outs for Literacy Shed, Once upon a Picture (which I am a MASSIVE fan of and use on the regular) and amazing kids lit authors too! (This made my heart so happy)

Thursday
Thursday was induction day at Newcastle University – who will be supporting us on our PGCE side of the qualification. Thursday was intense and a LOT to take in. There was a lot of information thrown at us – assignments etc. We had a very interesting workshop with people from Dove about their self esteem resources (happy to share links if you’re interested) which I will be looking at and using! 

Friday
On Friday we were based in the 3rd different school of the week! The focus of our day was Maths. We spent some time looking at the curriculum objectives and how to plot out a sequence of lessons. There was the chance to observe a whole maths lesson on the Friday too, so I spent the lesson in Year 6 – it was really interesting seeing how other people do it! There were definitely ideas to magpie from that teacher. We spent the afternoon looking at calculation policies and seeing the progression through the school.

So how am I feeling?
Last week I was worried and overwhelmed… this week I’m exhausted and still overwhelmed but I am just ready to get back into the classroom. I miss school a lot. It’s lovely doing more learning myself and I look forward to the week ahead! Next week brings block training week 2. We’re at an EAL conference in the coming week, which should be informative and interesting!  

Let me know if you have any questions! I am happy to answer them!

S x

SCITT: how did week 1 go?!

So last week I completed week 1 of my SCITT. How mad is that?! I’ll try and remember to do a weekly reflection (this will help me to remember to fill in my reflection log in my handbook too! If I have notes then I’m BOUND to remember)

So how did week 1 go? 

Monday
Monday was a training day at school. We went to Hexham as a whole staff and partook in some reflection time. We spent time in mass at a gorgeous little church and then, with our priest, we spent time looking at the story of the prodigal son and looked at the Rembrandt painting. Within the day, we also spent time talking about our hopes, struggles and wishes for the year ahead! It was a lovely way to spend the first day back.

Tuesday/Wednesday
I spent Tuesday and Wednesday in school: observing, reminding the kids that I would be in their class, seeing how that year group works, laminating and cutting out! General teacher-y things! I wasn’t really sure how/what to observe but luckily we will be looking at that at uni next week – so I will be a more efficient observer after that session.

Thursday/Friday
I spent Thursday and Friday at uni! It was weird getting up a little later and getting on the bus in the opposite direction to school. Sitting here now, I genuinely MISSED going in to school. I’m going to be raring to get back in to school in 2 weeks (once my block weeks at uni are done!). We had our welcome meeting and introduction to SCITT life. The initial few days were a mixture of Secondary SCITT students and those who are doing Primary, like me! There’s only about 10 Primary SCITT folk! Handbooks were given out and overwhelming emotions were felt for sure! Friday was spent doing those necessary bits of training that all school staff go through: safeguarding, esafety, British Values etc. Over the two days of uni there was a lot to take in, but it has certainly got me ready for the year to come!

So how am I feeling right now?
I certainly left uni both days feeling overwhelmed and a bit worried, but I think it’s fair to say that I am ready to get on with it. I definitely feel like I made the best choice for me going this route. Next week we’re at uni again – there’s all sorts going on! I’m looking forward to doing more learning and getting to know my fellow students better! 

If you have any questions about my teacher training or anything I am happy to take them and answer them! 

S x

Anxious.

Nervous.
Pretty scared.
I can’t lie.

It’s not that I think I can’t do this job, cause I have done this job for years. 

Teaching is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do.
I’m just scared.

That’s normal right?
People get nervous when something new comes along?
Something they don’t know, when they don’t know what’s coming.
Nerves are a normal emotion.

I half know what is coming.
I know I can stand in front of kids and teach.
Well, I think I can.
I’m so scared I’m not going to be good.
I’m scared I won’t do well.
I only want this. 

I want to be a teacher and a mam.
(Becoming a mam is a long way off yet, let me do one thing at a time!)

 

#good2016

Y’know what, 2016 is getting a lot of stick (and probably RIGHTLY SO, so much bad has happened this year) and I think it’s important to remember good things, positive things, lovely things that have happened this year. I’ve had a weird year, it’s been both good and tough… but even through the tough you need to remember good. So here we are… here’s my favourite things about 2016 (in no particular order really!)

Blogging
I have absolutely loved EVERY SINGLE second of becoming a blogger. This is a total and utter passion project of mine that I never thought would get off the ground, but here I sit 4 months down the line and I am a blogger. I don’t do this to get 1000s of hits, to get 100s of comments… I do it because it gives me somewhere to talk about what I do and what I love. Blogging has opened so many doors, it has enabled me to do so many wonderful things and has opened me up to some absolutely incredible people in this sometimes horrible world and I am so grateful. If you read this because I make you, because you’ve come across this blog by accident or because you’re one of these new wonderful people in my life who support then I thank you forever and ever. I love my blog. I love my blogger friends. I love that this is my corner of the world. I do this for me. It certainly made 2016 more bearable to talk about things I love, rather than reading lots of negative. 

Bookish twitter friends
Becoming a blogger, and becoming more involved in the incredible twitter community has meant that I’ve made and met so many amazing friends. The little corner of twitter that I reside in, that houses me and my friends is wonderful. There are some people that I’ve had the luxury of working with, there are people that I’ve had the luxury of meeting and there are people who I am lucky enough to get to talk to daily on twitter. One of my favourites places to reside on twitter is with the SundayYA crew. My wonderful Rachel
(@_sectumsemprah) looks after us so wonderfully and I am so so lucky that she’s allowed me into the bookish community of #SundayYA. There are so many people that I’ve become friends with on twitter that it astounds me… 6 months ago I was just a reader, now I’m a reader and a blogger and friends with these amazing people who blog and have important things to say. If you’re ever on my twitter just have a look at the people I talk to and you’ll find my wonderful friends… 

Amazing publicists
One of my favourite things that has happened as I got more involved in blogging and books and twitter and being all over the place is that publicists open their doors and pass on their books. I have had the opportunity to read and review some absolutely incredible books this year. Mainly thanks to my wonderful friend Sarah
(@xpectopatronerd). She has thrown so so so many wonderful books my way this year. I have loved reading each and ever single one of them to myself AND then to the kids in my school. The kids love when I come in with a new story. There have been so many other wonderful publicists letting me read their books, especially on Netgalley… (thanks to my wonderful bookish friends for introducing me to Netgalley!)

Communicating with authors
Maybe this post should just be a twitter appreciation post? Ha. I think twitter might be my favourite social media platform as it gives you such opportunity to communicate with people you might not necessarily get to otherwise! I was introduced to so many wonderful authors on twitter, and keep in contact with some of my faves (coughQueenMelcough) through twitter. It has been lush being able to just share with them that I loved their book/that the kids at school loved their book. Authors are wonderful people. They work hard and we should tell them we love their books!! Go on, find an author whose book you loved and tell them. 

Bookish events
I was lucky enough to get to go to 2 bookish events this year! Having never been to one I was NERVOUS as anything to go to my first one.. UKYACX, which was in Newcastle this year (See my reviews here
:
 UKYACX Take 1! MG editionUKYACX Take 2: YA edition!). It was absolutely amazing. I loved everything about it! I was so lucky in that I was asked to be involved in the blog tour for 2 different authors (UKYACX blog with Gabrielle Kent!UKYACX blog tour: Sara Grant). Kerry Drewery and Emma Pass are absolute machines organising and orchestrating the whole day. It was amazing! A few months later I got the chance to go to London and go to YAShot. I was HELLA nervous. Here was a massive bookish event, held in London with so so many authors and bloggers and people I admire that I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like. I had amazing people watching after me though… my wonderful friend Cora (@Corazzz) looked after me! I got to meet so many incredibly talented people that weekend… bloggers, authors and vloggers alike. My personal highlight was getting to see Melinda Salisbury again! She is my queen. Special mention to Chris from YAfictionados for being Irish, handsome and the sweetest. I had the best time at YAShot. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store.

University
This year was the year in which I passed first year of uni and started my second year! What? Who would’ve guessed that?! It’s been a passion of mine for a long long time to become a teacher but I wasn’t ready for uni at 18 when I left college so I kinda had to put that dream on hold for a while. I never stopped trying though. After years of pushing and prodding from my colleagues, I had the moment where I knew I needed to get my ass to uni. So I did. Here I am a year and a half down the line with my first year under my belt, my dissertation to write and only 1 more module before I graduate. This is unreal. But I am pretty proud of myself. It is HARD working full time and studying. I’ll get there. 

SCITT
Yep. There we go. I got on a SCITT course. I will be (providing I get my degree) training to be a teacher from September 2017. What even. I am SO SCARED but SO READY. (See: Follow your dreams! for the full story.)

My job
I think by default my job is always going to be one of my favourite things in a year. But I couldn’t go without mentioning it. I get to work with some of the most incredibly supportive, kind and funny people in the world and I get to work with kids. I’ve never not wanted to teach. It’s all I’ve wanted to do and I am so so lucky that I get to do it every single day. I love my job, I love the kids and the colleagues I get to work with. I can’t wait to keep that positivity into 2017. Teaching isn’t easy. It’s not the holidays and the playing that everyone thinks it is. It’s long days, emotionally draining, sleep depriving (the amounts of nights you’ll spend lying awake thinking about your next lesson, or your lesson that didn’t go so well is unreal) but it is so rewarding. I talked about how much I #loveteaching in this post: #loveteaching.

Tweacher friends
Not only has twitter enabled me to communicate with bookish people but it has opened up a world of tweachers (teachers who tweet). There are some incredibly inspiring people out there on twitter and getting to tweet with them and share ideas and thoughts with them is wonderful. We even have a growing teacher book community! I will get the people around me reading! It is my mission! 

Books.
Obviously. I have read some absolutely incredible books this year. Some people may say it is ridiculous to have one of your favourite things about a year being books, but I don’t. Books are transformative. They take you away from whatever is going on and transport you to a whole new world. They’re just majestic. Well done to all of the authors and book sellers who managed to convince me (let’s be honest, it’s not hard) to buy your book. I love books. SEND ME THEM ALL. I have a best books of 2016 coming up tomorrow! Keep your eyes peeled! 

There we have it. My favourite things of 2016. I rambled on a bit. But you get the idea. 2016 wasn’t all bad. 

S x

Curriculum maps

So for my recent SCITT interview and observation I wanted to show off my skills, to show them that I had a skill set already. I’ve worked for 7 years honing these skills so why should I not “show” them off?

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Since I was using The Tunnel by Anthony Browne (which is an incredible story, you can get so much from it, with any age I reckon) I thought it would be a great idea to show the people running the course that if I was to do a topic around this book how I would link it to other areas of the curriculum (specifically in Year 3). I spent a lot of time looking through the curriculum objectives for Year 3 and thinking about how they could/how they would link to a topic around this book/Anthony Browne books!

I love doing topics based around books. They lead you down so many different paths, or down one very specific path that you can have so much fun with it!

I’ve attached the curriculum map I’ve made for Year 3 to this post as I think it could be useful for other Year 3 teachers who are possibly using the story for the first time, or maybe have been using it for years and would like to see how other people would use it.

Please let me know if you have any comments to make about it, or if you have any curriculum maps you’d like to share. I think they’re incredible and have so much worth to them. They’re a great place to have all of your ideas on!

Download here:the-tunnel-y3-cross-curricula

S x

Follow your dreams!

For those of you who have been following my journey to becoming a teacher, thank you so much for taking the time to read about what’s been going on! For those of you who sent me positive vibes, a message, a tweet, a prayer… whatever you sent me they worked!

As my last blog post about this whole journey told you I was in the midst of being interviewed by the head of the SCITT course and one of the Catholic heads in Newcastle. It was terrifying, I was really nervous but I was outwardly really well composed! When I got to the school I was being interviewed in I had to wait for a while (because obviously I was early… no surprise for those of you who know me!). I met one of the wonderful members of staff who took me up to the sixth form common room and I had to do a literacy task – there was a piece of text for me to edit. It was explained to me that there were no right or wrong answers, just very much what I thought! So I did that and then I waited for the interviewers to arrive. When they arrived, I was taken into an office and we had an informal chat about why I wanted to be a teacher etc. If you’d like me to share the questions I was asked (those that I can remember anyway!) then I am more than happy to, just shout! My interview lasted about 25 minutes and then I was taken back down to the reception. I was told that I’d hear as soon as possible about the judgement that was made. As it was a Thursday I had to go to uni, and I was just not in the mood. I got on the bus to go back to town and I just burst in to tears… the relief, the anticipation… it just took over

Cut forward to Friday morning and I was just a barrel of nerves. I couldn’t concentrate. But I had to power on, Friday is one of my teaching days! At about 9:30 I got an email inviting me to take part in the second part of the process! How exciting! I was to do a reading task with a group of 6 Year 3 children. My boss then proceeded to tell me it would happen the following Wednesday! No time to beat about the bush, but also… no time to worry. For me that probably helped massively!! I had a think over the weekend and asked my wonderful Y3 pals which story would be good to do and I decided to do The Tunnel by Anthony Browne and to focus on the skill of prediction – hot in the Y3 curriculum!

Flip forward to Wednesday and I was again a barrel of nervousness. I couldn’t cope. I had an hour of teaching in the afternoon before my interview. I could get through it. Everyone at work was so lovely to me, my friends were all texting me wishing me good luck… I was as prepared as I could be. The lady observing me (alongside my head) was a little bit late, so by this time I was climbing the walls, but when it came to the actual task of reading to the Year 3 children I was calm. Reading is my thing. I love it. There’s such a power in stories. I got through the task unscathed I like to think! I got a big thumbs up from my boss, he seemed to be really proud of me. I was told that I would hear back as soon as possible about whether I was successful on getting on the course.

Thursday morning came and there was no email yet. 
Thursday lunch time came and there was no email yet.

I wanted an email before I left school for uni. It was getting closer and closer. Then I checked my emails and there it was! An email from the SCITT course offering me a conditional place. Me. A place. What. How. I felt like crying. I firmly accepted. I was over the moon.

I don’t think it’s fully sunk in yet though. It still kinda feels like a bit of a fib. But there we have it. I need to kill this degree and then I will be on my SCITT course. How insane. How utterly bonkers. Finally. My hard work is starting to pay off. It’s so so so so good. And everyone has been so incredibly good to me. I am eternally grateful.

S x

Nerves? Yep.

As most of you know I am on my way to becoming a teacher. It’s been a LONG road so far, and it’s still going. It’s not been easy but it has definitely been a whole host of fun! I thought I would write a blog post explaining where I am up to in my journey and what the future holds for me!

As I sit here and type I have completed my literacy skills test, which was nerve wrecking, and I have been sent an interview date for my SCITT course. I’ll break it down…

Obviously I am in the middle of a degree (which you need in this country to be a teacher, you need a degree… I roll my eyes at this but that’s not for this post!) and I am in the process of writing a dissertation. On top of this I have applied through UCAS to do a SCITT (school centred initial teacher training) course. In an ideal world I’d get on this course without having to be interviewed or anything, alas this is the real world! One of the requirements to get onto any teacher training course is that you pass Professional Skills Tests: maths and literacy. There is a website for which you can do the practice tests and I was the typically good student that I am and I completed these practice tests. My god am I glad I did them! Not because they give you the answers but because I knew what to expect when it came to doing the real test, in a real test centre. I was nervous as anything. I didn’t really know where the centre was but I found it with the help of Google Maps (thanks Google!). I went into the holding room and then was called in to confirm my identity (you have to take 2 forms of identity with you), what I was there for and my signature (I’m not sure what this was all about, I guess it confirms that you’re not getting someone else to do it for you). You go into the test room, sit at a computer and complete a few sections: spelling, punctuation, grammar and then a comprehension part. Throughout the test I was filled with nerves… not because I doubted my ability but because of the importance. I need to pass. I need to get on this course. I am so ready to be a teacher. So you do the test and then you go wait back in the holding room and I was just handed my letter, with a very sorrowful lady handing it over to me. I panicked, sure that I’d failed. I opened the letter and it told me I PASSED. Thank the Lord. I was so glad. I mean, I’d passed all of the practice tests, but that means nothing. You never know what nerves are going to do to you! I texted all of my friends and my family and they were all so chuffed for me.

Then the next day I got an email asking me to come for my interview at the SCITT school that is running the whole thing. So my interview is today, the day this post is published.

As I sit writing this I’m really nervous. I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. I didn’t expect it to happen at all if I’m really honest but that’s the doubter in me, nothing else. I know I am ready for this. I am not a good interviewee. I will make it through this interview and I will prove myself wrong. I know I can do this. Everyone around me knows I can do this. Everyone around me has so much faith in me. I’ll do it for them if I can’t do it for me. I just wanna thank all of you, if you’re reading this and you’ve sent me positive vibes, if you’ve texted/tweeted/messaged/hugged me then thank you. I need this. You’re all incredible. And if you have any tips for me then PLEASE LET ME KNOW.

A very nervous and worried, S x