These are memoirs of my trainee-teacher placement from 1996. This is part 2.
During the process of writing my second book about teacher-resilience and what keeps teachers stuck in the classroom, I have delved into my teaching practice file to rediscover my reflection journal from a 12-week teaching practice in 1996. I am reading the notes to see what issues have changed (if any) in teaching over the past 20 years. I am also keen to understand if there are any indicators in my own memoirs to suggest a certain type of character or resilience is needed for the classroom.
These memoirs are taken from the 4th school that I was placed in during my BAEd at Goldsmiths College, University of London. This was a comprehensive school in Hextable, near Dartford in Kent. I believe the school is now an Oasis Academy.
In my journal there are over 20 handwritten pages that I kept as part of my teacher training. My tutor regularly asked me to write my reflections after a very long commute home; what I was totally ignorant of, was that during my 4-year teacher-training degree, I was laying the foundations for me to become a reflective teacher; something that I still (thankfully) withhold today …
30th September 1996:
8A – Period 1: Here I am again with my first lesson ‘out of the way’ and feeling a little more confident. Still, the lesson had its good points as well as many areas for development! The first problem I failed to pick up on, was that I being too vague about what I actually wanted the pupils to do. I then had to bring them around the front desk and slowly explain the process of designing the ‘tipping’ section of the mechanical toy all over again. (*note to self)
Because of the practical elements and the short space of time, my focus was spent walking around the classroom supervising everybody – as they are so young. Many mistakes were being made; odd jobs and complete disasters! I used a variety of demonstration models to explain the differences of what is required (and what is not) to the whole class. This was quite beneficial for me – as I could gather the group around, learn their names and talk to them casually about a few examples of work. The pupils were genuinely interested and worked quickly. I must create more strategies to minimise the time wasted.
Waiting for pupils to put their coats away at the beginning, and tools away at the end of the lesson is a real pain. Something I need to work on …
Year 9 – Period 5: To add a variety of school life to my timetable, I have volunteered to teach a few PE lessons. The particular activity today was football. After wasting 10 minutes with a support teacher waiting for keys, we finally got out onto the fields to begin. The lesson was so short, we didn’t do anything constructive! I tried to add new dimensions to my teaching by introducing more competition; learning rules, much to the students’ dislike. It just didn’t seem to matter to them!
It was my first lessons teaching Year 9 boys (who seem to think they know it all!). The time was little and it was pouring down with rain – I was soaking! We had to abandon the lesson to keep the pupils dry. A nice introduction nonetheless to something different.
Year 7 – Period 6: A second P.E. lesson in one day! Hockey, not my strong point; it was welcoming to observe year 7 who didn’t know much more than me! I was very impressed with the way S.B. handled the pupils. It seemed to me to be an ideal lesson; asking questions, showing techniques, pupils demonstrating, adding humour, fun and a serious aspect of learning to sport being taught. I spent 10 minutes coaching 3 girls, demonstrating attacking and defending techniques. It was good fun and I think I’d really love to teach P.E. I’m not sure how my subject knowledge would withstand not that I am reaching the end of my degree in design technology and secondary education?
I was asked by a member of staff to coach a year 11 football side after school hours the following day. This was to play a game against another school. Naturally I obliged …
You can read more about my teaching memoirs in my forthcoming book, released in the autumn of 2015.
A very young TT.