So today was stressful. I tried and I tried and I tried to get the essay done for my interview for my secondary pgce at Edge Hill I was grinding my teeth, staring blankly at a monitor and things like that. I think I had it all finished by around eleven thirty. Even then i had a power point presentation to do. I had lost the plot by this time and I knew I couldn’t pull it off.
So, I bypassed admissions and then wrote directly to the tutor.
Please take me on your secondary pgce
“Dear Clare, I have an interview for the flexible PGCE at the above date. We spoke on the phone. I received the letter on Saturday May 9th. On Monday I contacted the University and I explained that I was working on a community project. The project culminating in a magazine that must go to print on Friday. Furthermore, there was no chance of rescheduling as the printing depends on the deadline. Admissions told me if I did not attend I would not be able to interview again. (Drama!)
Then I explained I would try to find an alternative plan. I mentioned I do already have the higher PGCE at level 2 for FE. I have a computing degree and I have been teaching graphics and multimedia for several years. I’d love the opportunity to bridge to QTS with a secondary PGCE.
I understand I may have to start late and I am happy to do this.
Claire replied immediately. “Hello Andonette We’re interviewing next Tuesday (19th) at 10am. Are you able to make this date? Kind regards Peter.”
I will never trust admissions again so I went home and drank wine.
I went for the interview and it went well. We started with a group interview. As a group we discussed an article. The theme of the discussion asked if the internet was too restricted in a classroom.
We were split into smaller groups and put on a hot seat. We were posed questions and we had to answer as if to an eleven year old. Since the other candidates spoke like they were speaking to a professor. I know I did the best at this task.
Next, we were asked to write side of A4 about what we had discussed in the group scenario. So I took my pen and jotted down a lovely little argument well presented. I placed my final full stop at the end of the sentence. While I was doing this, the tutor called ‘ finish your sentence please’. Brilliantly orchestrated!
Scary Individual Interview
So I waited for an hour and then it was time for my individual interview. The one I had the presentation for. “oh do you have a presentation? the tutor asked casually. “It’s not a big deal, just five minutes.”
Thank god I hadn’t spent hours on it or I would have been really mad! So, I presented the information on my skills. The tutor said “Oh thanks, I always forget to ask for this and its really important!”. Then she had to wrap up and so I felt quite dismissed. She did say I had a strong background and I gave good answers. It was a good result and so all that prep should stand me in good stead for secondary PCGE
Back to Azeroth
Finally, In the evening I went to Janes for tea and just relaxed there with everyone. By that I mean that they all played WoW and I kind of did nothing. I think my brain had melted so it was good to just vegetate.
My first day on the journey to becoming a secondary school teacher. I got to the interview in plenty of time. Though I wish I had taken a coat because the weather was abysmal. I had to walk halfway across campus in the grey misery.
When I arrived at the Faculty of Education, having met a couple of others along the way, we were greeted with coffee and sent upstairs to the induction room. There were two rooms, one for those with no school, teaching or any educational experience, and one for those who did.
The Experienced Room
In the experienced room, I sat down at a table with other prospective students. They were all female at my table. Incidentally, my subject is under-represented by females, while teaching school as a whole is under-represented by males. the fact that I am female in this subject grants me points on the equality scale when looking for a job.
It seemed everyone was doing different subjects in my room, I was the only one for IT. – The head of flexible PGCE was a lady called Alyson, she held good classroom authority, as the teacher trainer types always are, but helpful, and put us at ease, no question was too stupid.
There is a Secondary School Teacher Magic Manual
We all received a file. The instructor explained the routes to becoming a secondary school teacher. I soon came to realise that a QTS qualification blows a college FE PGCE out of the water. QTS is a set of professional standards. You must demonstrate you have met them all. Completion will give you 60 credits towards a masters degree. I need to find out of my other PGCE offers anything similar.
after an explanation of all the standards and taking us through the secondary school teacher book, the registration and bursary people came in and we had all the form filling in to do. There’s is a rook of financial support too so I will be able to come off income support even though I will have to borrow loads of money.
Books for Christmas!
later on, we went to the library to enrol, and we got a £200 book voucher whooo! christmas – everyone is getting books! – came back and they had laid on a nice lunch. it was good to chat with everyone, see what backgrounds they had come from and so on.
after lunch, we were introduced to the VLE, taken to log in and shown how to access the library system. It was the most painless induction day of my life. When I enrolled at Greenwich Uni back in 04, I crashed my car on the M1. It was the worst day of my life.
I cant wait to start but I still have loads more hoops to jump through, – I’ve mailed my tutor to try and make a start, but it feels so good to be busy and have something proper to obsess over.
Maybe no books after all
It seems I left my Edge Card at the University. What a major hassle. It had £200 worth of book credit on it to spend in the bookshop. I managed to sort it, but I have to go in and collect it and of course, that’s a bummer because I don’t have a car. Well, I do but I can’t afford to insure it until my sister moves in and gives me some rent.
Student Finance moved on in that I managed to find my ART ID and log in to the online system. Apparently, It assesses me for everything, but it’s going to take several weeks.
I also wrote to about ten primary schools today, haven’t heard one thing back, emailed the help desk as I am having difficulty accessing the go portal from home. I also need to order ink. It’s not been a good day, I can’t really keep having days like this.
Looking for placements is hard
I still have to sort out primary school placements. this is harder than I thought. I have contacted around 15 schools now. The response has ranged from apathetic to downright rude. James’ head teacher was a complete tosser. I explained nicely that it was impossible for students to progress as a secondary school teacher without placements.
The other school my kids went to seem ok, but they haven’t got back to me. I have called on most days. I don’t want to mither them, but they keep saying they will get back to me and they haven’t 🙁
well, I was all preppy when I came from induction, but I feel like nothings happening. I’m trying really hard!
Oh and an Epic fail on my finance form I filled it in wrong. Now I have to fill in 30 pages
Finding a primary school placement
Well, I’ve just phoned my local education authority. I wanted to know if they could help me find primary schools for a school placement. Thankfully they were nice and they did have someone that deals with newly qualified teachers.
She isn’t in until tomorrow. I have to ring back then and get an update. I’m also supposed to read my training plan but my PC needs a good sort out so Im going to spend the next hour sorting out my files.
Trying to get on a school placement was harder than I thought
A few days later, I continued trying to get a placement. Blackshaw Lane looked promising and They said I could do a school placement, but they were waiting. I phoned every day for two weeks. Eventually I got an email from St Gabriels, which is local to me, inviting me in to see them. They said subject to references I could do a placement in January.
Christmas came and went. It’s hard to think there was even a tree up. The weeks have passed in a blur really. I passed my approvals board, I stayed up all night preparing a portfolio. It went in on the 21st of December. Nothing to do but wait till Jan 5th. Claire said it would be ok, but I always feel that something will somehow go wrong.
January 5th came and went. Approvals board was cancelled or postponed at least. A new tutor took over from the old one. I don’t like change!
Three sucky hours of sleep
On the first day of primary, I had 3 hours of sleep. When my alarm went off I just switched it off till 8. I got in school for 8.40. Today I would be spending the day with year 5. Tomorrow with year 6.
I slept for three sucky hours. Wondering how I would face the day, and what type of behaviour and attitude to expect from kids this age. It felt like Maria on her way to the Von Trapp’s. Next, the teacher introduced herself. She had been teaching at that school 8 years. The teacher ushered in thirty kids. I was impressed the skill it takes for a teacher to concentrate when being spoken to by a million kids. It was definitely a fine art.
The day started with numeracy. The teacher pulled the interactive whiteboard out and accessed some website complete with pre made resources. This is brilliant, why didn’t FE think of this? it was like magic! the starter activity was countdown. Like countdown you have 30 seconds to make the target number. One pupil got it straight away. It amazes me because I ran it twice and I didn’t even get it. Children are so quick on the uptake. Mind you, I’d only had three hours sleep to be fair and I’m not Carol Vorderman.
Next the tutor introduced number sequences. They were very simple ones like add 3 or add 5. After twenty minutes it was assembly time and so I managed a tea break. After assembly, we moved on to literacy. The teacher read a short story from the Caribbean. It was about a lazy animal who would not work for his own plantains. The greedy animal cheated his friend out if his. She asked the kids to analyse it and think of a new ending and decide on a moral. I think the moral was “If you let people mooch off you, your’e stupid and you deserve to be robbed”.
Before lunch they practiced colours in Spanish. Pupils had to shout out a colour in Spanish. Two pupils at the front swatting the colour first on the whiteboard with a kind of fly swat. It seemed like the teacher hadn’t stopped talking all morning. She literally utilised every last nanosecond.
No Yellow Pens!
After lunch there was a lesson observation. The session was about healthy eating and food groups. She asked the kids to design a healthy meal and draw it onto a paper plate. This was far more complicated than I had anticipated. The kids had all drawn oven chips, and we had a severe yellow pen shortage.
Finally we had PE. A primary teachers role is extremely varied! I don’t know how they do it but the patience is admirable!
So I don’t know what tomorrow has in store, I’m only in half a day but I get to meet year six. So far the school placement has felt like two weeks rolled into one day and Im exhausted!