Let me go home…

So I’m going back to my “host school” today and I can’t wait. I’ve had a week of training following half term and I am itching to get back into the classroom! 

I say host school, that’s what the people of the SCITT call it. For me, I call it “home”. It’s my school. It’s the school I went to as a kid, it’s the school I’ve worked at for the past 9 years. It’s very much a part of me. Part of the dream of being a teacher is being able to teach at this school. I’d love a teaching job at this school.

Being away from my school taught me a lot. I learned a lot on Second School Placement. Second School Placement was HARD. I can’t deny that for a second. I struggled a lot at times. There were times I wanted to just chuck the towel in. The behaviour at my second school was a total challenge at times, and it took me a while to remember that their behaviour choices weren’t a reflection on me as a teacher. They weren’t an attack on me. I had some really rough days at SSP. I also had some brilliant lessons. I had some really touching moments. The kids were a delight, the staff were brilliant with me. I felt very welcome.

I learnt a lot about being me, the teacher me, while I was away. I definitely think SSP helped me develop my sense of my Teacher Self, my teacher identity. My identity comes with my reputation, my history, at my school. At SSP, they didn’t know much about me, so I could be who I wanted to be, the me I wanted to be the most, the teacher I know I am. I’m looking forward to taking that teacher identity back to my school. If you were to ask me if I could put my finger on the parts of that identity that were important, I don’t think I could. I just developed that sense of “me” as a teacher being away from school.

My host school and my SSP have both been brilliant for me. Being in my comfort zone (Year 6, surprisingly) at my host school helped me to really go for it. Being well out of my comfort zone at SSP made me challenge my own thoughts, my own preconceptions about myself, education and teaching. I learned A LOT while I was gone. Some things I will take back with me because I thought they were incredible. The power of experiencing somewhere new is that you can see how things are done elsewhere and cherry-pick the things you want and leave behind the things you don’t think will work for you.

A lot of people will read this and think “she’s been in the same school for 9 years? And she wants to stay there? She must be crazy!” and possibly. I know I need to spread my wings. I know I will learn an awful lot by spreading my wings, second school placement proved that, but I also know that I’m not done learning in my current school. I’ve got an awful lot of learning to do still until July, when hopefully I will qualify.

The thing I love the most about teaching is you never stop learning. Regardless of if I’m at home, or if I’m somewhere else, spreading my wings, I never want to stop learning. I want to be constantly evolving and getting better.

S x

Back in the classroom!

Last week, I got back in the classroom after a lovely Christmas holiday and then a week of training (which comprised of Early Years training, a 2 day Thinking Skills Conference and some data training!). I was so glad to be getting back into the classroom, however the big change this time round is that I was in a NEW SCHOOL. 

This half term lends itself to my Second School Placement (SSP). It’s a really short half term, so I am only on SSP for 4 weeks! I got through my first week, but it wasn’t without a wobble or two. I’ve never worked in another school. Don’t get me wrong, I know being away from my school will do me the world of good, being somewhere new has been a challenge. Not because of the school, just me. On a personal level.

I’ve learned a lot in my first week though. 
It’s been part struggle. Being somewhere new is scary. Being around new kids is a bit intimidating. Being in a new way of working is a lot to take in. Not knowing anyone and feeling a bit lonely can be kind of alienating.
It’s also been mostly brilliant. All of the kids I’ve met have been so excited to see me. I’ve seen some of them on the bus going home and they’ve waved and said hello. The staff have been brilliant, making me feel very welcome and being as accommodating as they can – offering me all of the help, if I need it.

I’ve had moments of feeling out of my depth and having to muddle through. I know this is an amazing opportunity for me and I’m hoping to take everything I can out of it. I’m looking forward to the next 3 weeks. It’s going to be a rollercoaster.

S x

Week 9?!

So last week was madness. Week 1 of any half term is always the most exhausting. Half term is a lovely time in a teacher’s life when they can kind of breathe a little bit – don’t get me wrong theres still 1000004 things to be done, but there’s a little bit of breathing room. I certainly had lots to do in half term (and I still do…)

Being back at work is always a joy for me. I love my job. It gives me real purpose. There’s a blog post coming up next week that I go into a bit more detail about my motivations behind teaching and my pursuit of this career, so I hope you enjoy that when it goes live! 

What did Week 9 have in store? 

On Monday, we had a teacher training day and we went to observe in another school in Newcastle for a little while. It’s always a brilliant opportunity to get to see other teachers in action and seeing how things work in other schools. I’ve worked in my school for a long time now, so for me getting out and about and seeing other schools is brilliant. I love going to other schools to have a snoop around and share ideas. Teachers are sharing people and I love that. I got to see half a Y4 Maths lesson and then went into Y6 as the teacher was doing biographies (just so happens that I was starting biographies in Y6 last week too!) Monday afternoon, we did some assessment things and I got to work on MFL assessment documents too! So a very productive Monday indeed.

On Tuesday, we had some brilliant ICT training! Our ICT consultant came in to do some Green Screen training with us and it was a great day. Year 6 were SO good with it and I plan on incorportating the ideas into lessons in the future. I love learning new ICT things, especially things that can be used in such a versatile way! 

Wednesday brought a pretty usual day at school: some teaching, some observing. I observed in Reception in their phonics session – I am going to be doing more observing in the future, as early phonics is one of the things that I need to build my confidence and skill set in. It’s incredible seeing the quick progress they’re making from my last session in there! They’re like little sponges at that age. We had our Monsters’ Ball after school on Wednesday, so it was a long day! But it’s things like these events that make it fun!

I had a meeting on Thursday morning and then we had training over at a local 3-18 school where we learned about their small school model. It’s always interesting to learn how other schools work, so seeing how their school works and what they have implemented, so that made for an interesting few hours. I even got to take part in a Construction lesson – I built a dry wall. The focus was on using maths in different subjects, I was chosen to go to Construction, with others going to Food Tech and some in Art. (Yes, I built that!)

Friday brought the delights of an observation (ALWAYS TERRIFYING). I was far less nervous for this observation than I was my first observation, but I was still anxious. Being watched is a nervous thing! I just wanna always do well. Teaching is the thing for me. This observation was in English and we were looking at model biographies. The kids were brilliant and the lesson went really well. I got some lovely feedback from the class teacher, so that was a lovely way to end a week!

Last week in 3 words?  Brilliant. Fun. Educational (ha!)

If you have any school related questions, don’t be afraid to ask! I will answer all and any! Leave me a comment, or tweet me and I will get back to you! 

S x

First half term down!

Well hello there! We have reached half term holidays, how did that happen? 

Here we are then. I’m 1/6 of the way done with my SCITT. I am 1/6 closer to my dream. That is BONKERS. I’ve got a blog post coming in a few weeks about why I want to be a teacher and the suchlike. 

So how did week 7 go?

It was pretty good! 

My Y6s were on a residential so I ended up spending a day in Reception, and I have to say that it was a BRILLIANT day. I don’t know that I am an EYFS girl, but Wednesday definitely softened me to working in EYFS. I had spent Monday morning observing the phonics session to see how it worked when I was to teach on Wednesday. The children were practising blending CVC/VC (consonant vowel consonant/vowel consonant) words with the sounds they had already learnt, so I gave them all a label with a word on that they needed to be able to read, and then any time they were speaking to someone else they had to attempt to read their word too! The words they had for example were mad, sad, Sam, am, sat, at etc – the children so far know the sounds m, a, s, d and t. I had the words scattered around the room too. There was one in the snack corner, reading corner, at the door to go outside, and I challenged the children to read the word whilst they were in that area. The kids seemed to love it! The brilliant Reception TAs had some lovely feedback for me too, and then there was some lovely feedback from the teacher too when I saw her on Friday, commenting on how she thought it had a massive impact on their interest in reading words. 

What else did we get up to? There was a bit of maths too. The children had been learning to do 1 more and 1 less, and after speaking to the class teacher she wanted them to do more work on that as they were struggling a little, so we did some work on that using a number line and the children! It was brilliant to get the chance to do maths in such an contrasting class to Year 6, to see where the skills need to start! We also did some Talk4Writing with ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’, with the children doing their actions for the story (and they were brilliant) and then some children doing their story board

We had a very busy day! It was lovely to be in Reception. I left EXHAUSTED. 

What else happened this week?

  • I had a visit from my SCITT tutor too and we had quite an in depth conversation about expectations and how things were going on my course too. She’s lovely and I can tell she’s going to be super supportive! 
  • We had an ICT conference on Thursday, which was an interesting look at using ICT in the classroom with an abundance of ideas for Secondary schools, so I would love to delve deeper into ICT in the Primary classroom
  • On Tuesday we had KS2 writing moderation. Working with the other KS2 teachers, looking over the work they’ve done so far and seeing how the children are getting on. It’s great for my own knowledge of other classes as well as seeing other ideas! 

Looking back on this half term, it’s been VERY positive. There have been trying, testing days. There have been days I’ve cried. There’s been days that I just thought “WHY DID I THINK I COULD DO THIS?”, but these days happen to everyone so I’m going to end on a high note, with some of the positives from this half term:

  • My first formal observation going so well
  • Meeting my fellow SCITT students, and building such a brilliant bond and friendship with the other Primary SCITT students
  • Building relationships with the staff and the kids in Year 6 – we had a rocky time last year, but this year so far has been brilliant
  • Hearing lovely feedback from lots of different members of staff

I plan on working a lot in half term, but spending some time with the people I love most! Let’s have a brilliant half term in readiness for the next half term to come (Christmas is ALWAYS a killer!!)

S x

6 weeks down, 1 to go!

Well, week 6 is done and there’s 1 more to go until half term… WHERE DID THOSE WEEKS GO? How crazy is that? To think that 6 weeks ago I was starting my journey to becoming a teacher and now I’m 6 weeks in… it has FLOWN. 

So how did my week go? 
It was really good. It was STRESSFUL but it was great

The big things from this week was I had my first (of many) formal observation. The Year 6 teacher observed me teaching Maths. Before the observation I was SO nervous. I hadn’t slept well, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to vomit or cry – I managed to do neither and got through the observation without any mishaps! We were working out time elapsed using a time line (we call it a Frog line, it’s one of the tools that we use in our Maths scheme of work!). We started the lesson recapping Roman Numerals from the day before and then talked about how you would calculate how long marathon runners run for. The kids were so well behaved. The lesson went over in a blur. There was a lot of modelling, lots of the children applying their skills and then working in pairs/independently to attempt the task. I then had them use their skills to “be the teacher” and told them I’d made a mistake in one of the questions I had written in the morning, so they had to correct it. 

Some of their “marking” was very funny, but they all managed to find and fix the error! It made my teacher heart very happy! (A few examples of their funny marking: “you miss break time”, “you should learn your facts or ask for help”, cheeky!)

The class teacher was lovely when she gave me feedback and had some really lovely things to say about the lesson! (If you’d like to know what, feel free to ask me!) It gave me a lovely glow. I realise not all my lessons are going to go that well, but to start the year with a lesson like that was great!

What else happened this week?
I’ve been teaching SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) this week, looking at speech punctuation. The children were really struggling with punctuating speech correctly at the beginning of the week, but by the end of the week they were doing much better! It’s lovely to see their progress over the span of a day, a week, a few weeks: it all adds up! 

We’ve been continuing on our English with Journey. The children have been writing the boy’s story! They’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been tough going, but they’re getting there. My copies of Quest and Return arrived this week too, so we’re going to “read” them this week (I say “read” because they’re wordless picture books! Excellent for use in the classroom!)

This week in 3 words?
Tough. Emotional. Brilliant.

So that’s my week in a nutshell… there’s loads more but I would hate to bore you! 

S x

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