Checking In!

1 Jul

Wow. It has been a long time.

I must admit, I actually forgot about this little gem. A lot has happened since I went to Egypt last summer. I have since spent one awesome year living with ‘the Crew’ (as they have so aptly named themselves, well, Sarah has named us) at Artillery Street, and I have finished University. I graduated with a First! I know, right? I’m clearly a genius! Ha. Actually, I feel this result to be more of a combination of fluke, hard graft and having a very engaging and motivated seminar supervisor for my final year (yes, I am looking at you, Dr. Don Leggett!)

My time at Enfield Grammar went extremely well! Do you remember I spent ages agonising over that letter to the head teacher? Well, by the time I left, I had been told be two different History teachers (one being the department head) that they thought I “had what it took” to be an awesome teacher, and that they knew I would do well. It made my heart swell! It was awesome. Nearly cried. Didn’t. But nearly.

I have also been accepted onto a one year PGCE with Canterbury Christ Church University, wooh! One step closer to achieving one of my main goals. They gave me a conditional offer informally on the day of my interview, which I was chuffed to bits about. The condition was a 2:1 in my degree, of course. But there was also the little matter of scoring only 3/12 on their numeracy test.

Yes, all right… I’ve always been pretty crap at Maths. My lack of confidence began (or rather, the destruction of my confidence happened) in Primary school, and I’ve never really got over the humiliation or the frustration I experienced there. So, yes… I’m not very good at it. But, perhaps I should explain?

In order to gain QTS (that is Qualified Teacher Status for the laymen), you need to pass two skills tests. This changed recently (thank you again for your crappy policies, Mr Gove) from having to pass three, including ICT, but being able to take them as many times as you liked. I now have two chances, and then I get chucked off my course and can’t retake them for two years… urgh.

The literacy one I can do with my eyes shut if I really apply myself to appropriate grammar and spelling (let’s just ignore the lack of such application in this blog…) but the numeracy, hmm. You have eighteen seconds to answer each question, and the first half of the test is verbally recited to you without any opportunity to see the question written down. I failed miserably at the first two practice tests I tried. So now I’m just trying to get quicker and quicker; it’s not that I can’t do it full stop, I just can’t do it quick enough.

Anyways! Enough moaning. I will pass. There is no other option. As Mike remarked only last week – ‘if you could become a teacher by walking across a floor of hot coals and broken lass, you would, wouldn’t you?’ Yes, yes I would. And numeracy is definitely comparable to hot coals and broken glass in its pain equivilancy. Speaking of pain… I spent a week in a Primary School!

Nah, it wasn’t that bad. It’s a necessary pre-requisite to starting your PGCE. The staff were lovely, and the children were fantastic fun. I was baffled by the sheer diversity in ability there. In one Year 2 class I spent two hours doing paired reading with each child individually.

With one, I read Spot the Dog – this is Spot, Spot is yellow – and with the next I was reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. He wanted to know about everything he read – what’s a Poltergeist? Are basilisks real? What does ‘askew’ mean? – which was fantastic. I finished the week with many valuable experiences, a painted father’s day card, a greater understanding of the embalming process and a glowing report from the Deputy Head. Mission accomplished.

I also spent three days in Sawston Village College; a very high achieving, mixed secondary school. Mike went there, which was kind of weird. But Mr. Steve Mastin – the head of History – was very helpful and accommodating. I learned a lot about positive behaviour management, and how to teach History in an engaging and creative way. Many, many ideas that I can’t wait to put to use myself.

So, the end of my first post in an entire academic year. Graduation posts, and numeracy woes to follow!

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