PGCE Placement Week 1

I can’t quite believe it’s Saturday already as my first week on placement has absolutely flown by.

Now I’m sitting here preparing for week two!

This time last week I felt sick with nerves. I had no idea what to expect and was so worried that my mentor or colleagues would be cold and unhelpful.

Luckily another PGCE student is also training at the same school as I am, and I have been able to get a lift with him there and back each day. (I wasn’t looking forward to a bus-train-bus journey for an hour and a half each way!)

On Monday morning we were met by the head of teacher trainees, we attended a brief meeting and then we started our induction, which covered the school regulations and expectations, behaviour policy, safeguarding, etc. All of the important bits!

Plus we received staff name cards – yay!


Monday

I met with my mentor, who is absolutely lovely! and observed two of her lessons, plus the other essential meetings. I also got to observe a form period, which is only 15 minutes. Then we were free to go by 3pm. We definitely appreciated the early finish.

Tuesday

I was lucky enough to follow Year 9 top-set classes all day and honestly, it was amazing. These children were so smart, inquisitive and well behaved and it was really refreshing to see. I had so many notes to make as part of my PGCE training booklet, mostly on how teachers started their lessons, made transitions between activities and used plenaries, but I only ended up with 8 remarks about behaviour in 5 lessons, and they weren’t even bad!

Wednesday

Well this was a complete contrast to Tuesday because I was following an SEND student (not in a stalker way, obviously) and the classes were completely  different. I heard some horrific language and witnessed some shocking behaviour. Things I’d only heard about from British teachers and even then I felt sure they were exaggerating.

It’s safe to say that I finished up on Wednesday entirely baffled and exhausted. (And with 8 pages of notes on behaviour…) However, I was fortunate enough to witness a range of teachers and some very different approaches to this unruly class. Thankfully, I also left some classes feeling inspired.

Thursday

I loved Thursday because I became a part of two lessons I will eventually teach. One year 7 and one year 8 class who were really well behaved, and the teaching was also inspiring. I was able to help some of the children with their work and had the chance to talk to them about what they enjoyed about the classes.

After lunch I went into a year 10 art class, where the approach and class were completely different to the previous two and the teacher was lovely! That was also a valuable observation.

From 3-4pm every Thursday the student teachers have a training session and today was on classroom management, how we should be thinking about standards and rules we will have for our own classroom and what is / isn’t worth implementing in the school we’re currently at. It was great and gave me so much to think about already!

Oh. P.S The most embarrasing thing happened on Thursday. After using the bathroom and checking my outfit in the mirror I noticed that my trousers had a huuuuuuuuuuuuge rip all along the bum… There’s no way no one had noticed (but hadn’t mentioned it), it was so obvious! I nearly died, and had to tie my blazer around my waist like a 12 year old…

Friday

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand breathe.

Friday’s are our University days but our lectures were cancelled so that everyone had the chance to meet with our academic tutor. By some miracle I was first up so I went in at 10 and was finished by 10:30.

I was surprised because my meeting was really positive. Apparently the school had relayed positive feedback about me and my first week there, and the young students I taught last week wrote some feedback about my poetry lesson and they were quite positive. All three students wrote that I’d taught them something (Poetry has different rhyme schemes, it’s okay to be wrong and SWIFT for analysing poetry). I feel proud!

One boy wrote that the worst thing about my lesson was that it ended – I actually cried when I read this.


I’ve been really unwell this weekend and haven’t been as productive as I wanted to, but I did watch 4 football matches, sleep a lot, read some poetry and have nearly finished Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I knew I loved that book but I had actually forgotten how fantastic it really is.

I’ve also worked on my assignment, which is now complete and leaving me with one less thing to worry about. My folders and observation notes are ready for tomorrow’s new lessons and my lunch is ready in the fridge.

I’m feeling extremely organised, yet that’s the type of person I always have been so I don’t know why I’m so surprised. I suppose this shows how little work I’ve had to do in the last couple of years.


Highlights:

  • My mentor is awesome
  • One student asking “Miss, if Wilfred Owen was obese, would they have made him go to war?”
  • When asked why Futsal was the odd one out on the board, a student replied with, “Well it’s just a crap game innit?” The teacher wasn’t too impressed with that response.
  • I’ve loved wearing smart clothes. Dresses and blazers I’ve had for years but barely worn. I’m really scruffy (I think) most of the time, so this has been a nice change!

Roll on week two of school placement!


Are you studying a PGCE? Drop me a comment and let me know how you’re getting on.

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