PGCE, GTP, DTLLS – Are they really useful?

I was browsing the education pages on BBC news and came across this news story…Image

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-21659908

The third paragraph in particular caught my attention. “The government wants more teacher training to be delivered ‘on the job’ instead of in university-based courses”. So should the conventional, theory led teaching qualification be scrapped in favour of an apprentice-style award?

If you ask anyone who is currently doing their teaching qualification, they will all say one thing – there is so much theory. Now ask them if they think it is useful and the majority will state that its all useless. During my studies I thought that the whole process was just a box-ticking exercise and a real teacher doesn’t need to know what behaviourism or the process model is – they can just teach. I had already been teaching for 6 months in a FE college so I believed that I was a natural born teacher and spending hours with Petty, Scales and Tummons would not change a thing. But I was wrong…

This afternoon I sat down with my team and my manager explained to us that our formal observation week would be in a few weeks time. The format would be the same as last year, one observation at any point in the week. My manager then went on to pass out a 2-sided A4 sheet of paper with everything the observers would be expecting to see in the observation. I was one of the last to receive the handout and I was seriously worried watching the faces of the ‘old guard’ as they read through the list. The handout finally reached me and I was surprised…..pleasantly. The list demanded lesson plans with differentiation, class profiles, assessment records, schemes of work with employ-ability skills and reflection periods. So whilst my esteemed colleagues were quaking in their boots, I was thanking my teaching qualification for teaching me all about professional practice. Now I am starting to realise that my teaching qualification really has helped me become a better teacher. If the process moved out of the classroom and did become more ‘on the job,’ I doubt I would have been prepared for the observation week coming up. 

Don’t get me wrong, there’s no point learning all the theory if you don’t have the natural ability to teach. We need to have an element of learning on the job so that we can put any theory we learn into practice. For those of you sitting through countless lessons on curriculum theories, hang in there. It may seem like what you’re doing is pointless, but it is sinking in and it is affecting your professional practice in a very positive way!

Lets hope I can make my teachers proud by getting an ‘outstanding’ in my obs week!

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Half-Term, Does It Really Exist?

It’s Friday 22nd February which means one thing…..today is the last day of half-term and we go back to work on Monday!

If you are a non-teacher I know what you’re thinking, you think that teachers have absolutely no right to complain about anything because we spend 1/4 of the year on ‘holiday’ and when we do work it’s only until 3:30pm! I wish this was the case! I could write page after page on how hard we work but I want to focus on half-term. Today is day 5 of my break and I have been in the office…..5 days! I’m not saying that every teacher spends their break in their school working every hour, but any teacher who is not perfect and super efficient at planning probably had a stack of marking at the start of the week. I have worked my ass of every day this week and guess what? I still have a huge stack of marking! Yes I have met a friend for lunch and on a couple of occasions I haven’t left my bed until 10am, but for the rest of the time I’ve been intensely marking and planning.  

If I’m working this hard, does half-term really exist?

The answer is yes it does exist, but it’s not what everyone perceives it to be. For all you new and aspiring teachers out there, do not expect a lovely week off where you do nothing. My perception of half-term is that it is a sort of ‘catch-up’ week. It’s like being at work but with a few luxuries thrown in  

 I should say now that some teachers are ‘super efficient’ and ‘perfect’ but like most, I am not. In my opinion, my classroom management and teaching abilities are excellent, but my organisation and marking are quite poor. I love being in the classroom, when I’m teaching it doesn’t even feel like a job. Despite regularly lecturing my students on becoming the independent learner and the importance of self-motivation, I struggle to motivate myself when it comes to marking their assignments. I do get the job done, but leading up to half-term (or any break) I get into the mindset that other things are more important and the assignments can be left for half-term. 

For all of the established teachers reading this, I know you’re screaming at me saying “why have you been in the office 5 times this week?” It pains me to say this, but I am the king of procrastination. If I am in the comfort of my own home I will eat 6 meals a day + snacks, I will clean the house from top to bottom and I might even do some exercise, there is always something else to do before I pick up that pen and mark. So please help me! Does anyone have any advice to help me with my marking strategy?

Half-term does exist; it’s a week available for us teachers to use as we want. If I can change my mindset or come up with a new marking strategy I may just be able to enjoy the whole week off……until I have kids

(ps from Monday, the blog will be a daily update of my teaching practice and anything funny, unusual or exciting that happened)