Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Update of the Month

Well, I've been here a month and things seem to be going well. Life has been absurdly busy and the course is frantic, but I'm getting the hang of it.

The timetable for most days is 9:00am-4:15pm, with two 15mins breaks and 45mins for lunch. Mondays & Fridays are mostly Core Curriculum - Mondays are English (am) & Science (pm), and Fridays is Maths (am) & Early Years Education (pm). The other 3 days are mostly random, but are usually sessions on teaching techniques (planning, assessment, observation, etc), on assignments or on other subject areas (ICT, PE, RE, History, Geography, Art, Drama, etc).

I have been on a few placement visit days so far. The school is nice. Really small though (a class for every 2 year groups), which is taking a bit of getting used to. The whole school only has 4 classes! As I said before, the school is Roman Catholic, which is really nice. The children say prayers first thing in the morning, just before hometime and also say grace all together in the dinner hall at lunchtime. Have you ever been in a class, and a 4yr old child comes up to you and announces "We're playing 'Going to church'."? The whole ethos in the school is lovely and the older children (Yr5/6) look after the younger children really well. The placement is paired and my partner is called Sarah (one of 6 Sarahs out of 60 students on the PGCE course) and she's also a Christian - Pentecostal (at home)/Baptist (here) - which has been really nice too.

So far, on placement we've observed several lessons, as well as working with some of the kids. We also had to carry out a task for science, trying to find out the children's understanding of what constitutes a "living thing". We made a set of cards with a selection of pictures on them - cat, dog, bird, tree, flower, baby, rock, table, coat, bed, ... - and asked them to place them in two hoops, depending on whether it was alive or not alive. This led to a few interesting comments...

  • Tables are living because they have legs.
  • Kettles are living because they need water (& make noises)
  • Babies eat, drink... and have dummies.
We have to plan a story session and also a music & a PE session each, plus a detailed observation/study of one child. Those don't sound too daunting at the moment.

Apart from lectures & placement, I haven't been up to much, tbh. I've seen Michael most weekends, which has been nice. 2 weeks ago & this weekend just gone, I went to see him in York, and the weekend in between he came here to Scarborough. It's been lovely to see him so often and it's helped provide a good break in what is a pretty frantic course. This weekend he's singing in Derby Cathedral instead, though, with Northern Cathedral Singers, and I'm staying in Scarborough and writing an essay. I have a 4,000 word essay on the importance of play in education for next Friday (3rd Nov) - oh joy! A bit nervous about that, but it should be fine... I think. :oS

So... I'm exhausted, but enjoying myself. Earlier today I wasn't feeling too well and I think I'm going down with something, but I'm feeling much better now. I'll be going to bed shortly, though, and I'm pretty glad I've got most of tomorrow off - I only have to be in between 9 & 11am. :o)
I'll try to update a little more often... God bless!

PS. I tried to update this last night, but it wouldn't publish.