Year Two!

Second year placement has come round so quickly but I’m so excited! I somehow managed to land my dream school in a reception class.

I’ll be spending the next 8 weeks in a private school, teaching little ones and improving my skills and gaining new experiences.

Today I splashed out on a new working wardrobe and got a haircut. Polished and ready to go!

Alphabet and Number Charts

When it comes to resources and cut little flashcards I don’t know any EYFS who doesn’t love collecting and making them! writing on a whiteboard can be equally as satisfying, so I hope some other practitioners understand the uncontrollable joy I had finding these tabletop pocket charts complete with a whiteboard, pen and 78 flashcards.

I love TK Maxx and their children’s range can be really good. I spotted this alpabet chart for £3.99. I quickly grabbed it and scurried away to a corner of the shop like a squirrel with a nut.

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It’s the perfect size for a table or display and the changeable cards are clear, simple and I personally like that the font uses a normal ‘a’. There are so many activities to be done on this and its going to be a staple for small group work and one to one sessions.

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After finding the bargain in the shop, I searched for it on eBay and found the number one for £8 and free delivery. Still not a bad price for what this is!

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Sleepy Sunday

Last week was tiring despite it being a four day week so this weekend I decided not to spend too long doing planning and writing up my observations and evaluations for university. I really needed to get these jobs done but I value my health over my job any day, something I learnt after being continuously signed off last year.

The teacher/home life balance is achievable but it can’t be upheld every weekend. So if you work in a school or in any job where you have to continuously do extra work at home, let yourself have one weekend, two days a month to just not do any work and have time to yourself. You will be much more productive in your role having de-stressed a little and it is great for getting into a positive mindset.

I am now off to get an early night because what a great way to start the week, fresh and awake first thing on a Monday morning. Keep smiling, stay positive and encourage others around you to take on a positive vibe.

GCSE PE

This is not my strongest area of performance but I realise I do have a bit of a problem with how PE is taught in schools and attitudes of some PE teachers.

Firstly, I have just seen a petition against the proposal for a new weighting between theory and physical activity, with theory being where most of the time is spent.  I have avoided signing this as I do believe that a majority of young people need to be learning more about the affects of PE in order to want to DO the PE!

For me personally I was quite fit and able to do sport just there were lots of factors being a teenage girl and all that, which affected my confidence to embrace the few sports I was introduced to. The times that I felt confident to such as in long distance running my efforts went unnoticed and coming third most of the time wasn’t enough. It made me think about the people who came 4th-last. How demotivating to run like you are forced to and then be humilated and not treated like one of the special ones.

In my school we had a girls, boys and ‘star’ group. That in itself is wrong! I can’t remember what the privilige was but I am assuming more hours to do sport. The grouping of pupils is just strange. We have PE lessons to collectively learn and develop our umderstanding and basic skills so that when we leave school we can choose to continue the study or take up exercise at home. Straight away my group were treated as less important. People who needed to scrape a C for the PE office statistics. The BTEC group had limited physical activity and spent most of their time infront of a computer – funny how the staff thought that was suitable for them.

Basically I never liked the idea of someone judging me and my individual physical performance. I still don’t. It stands out more in the sports too because you are graded and continuously compared. A slight element of competitiveness really

RENAME IT! Perhaps Physical Education is a bit dated for the subject name and it should be referred to as Physical Studies or Sports Studies.

Cognitive conflict

I feel like a tennis ball in an intense final, being whacked back and forth between decisions and choices.

I love teaching children, supporting them to grow and develop in every way possible. I absolutely loved my role as a Teaching Assistant and left it in a passionate pursuit to qualifying and having a classroom of my own one day.

Since then my life has been full of stress and struggles, not from the workload or pressures but from personal and home life. It’s really important to keep home separate from work so I know I need to build up my resilience to stress before setting foot back into a school again.

Just before Christmas I was struggling so much financially and became completely dependant on the money I made from selling clothes and my boyfriend. I am always grateful for the help but there is no greater feeling in the world than enjoying a job role and being paid for it! I miss working full time so much, yet I love studying and having the ‘spare time’ to read more and plan fun activities and lessons.

I thought I had settled on returning to work and studying with part time attendance for a non QTS degree with the idea that this would suit my future personal aims of moving out. However just today having seen lots of posts about people retuning to university tomorrow, I realise I am a bit jealous. There’s nothing stopping me from returning in September except from myself! I feel confused and unsure as when I’ve set my heart on decisions I often change my mind. Crazy after I know how passionate I am about education.

So I have come to a conclusion that returning to work would be me settling for an easier life. University challenges me in so many ways and the role of a teacher will keep me working hard and have an active lifestyle. I’m thinking too far into the future, I need to take it a step at a time. First step now is to redo my teaching placement in April. Next step is to return to University in September!!

Teachers demands are going nowhere

So I just read in The Guardian, that teacher’s professional status is going to be raised in the UK.

Great! This is what Teacher’s want and need. That recognition for their extremely pressuring and tiring work. The demands of a Teacher have always been high and with the school systems always being under scrutiny it can be so challenging for educational staff to keep motivated. Especially when the classic ‘but you get the holidays off’ line comes to bite them.

In every country but here teaching is recognised for what it should be. A high status career which comes with a lot of responsibility and basically a way of life.

For me I am still training and am in limbo as to whether I want to give my life to a profession which the government and society doesn’t appreciate. This is a good sign!

Here’s the link to the article if you’re interested in reading more about the statistics side!

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/09/college-of-teaching-will-give-teachers-professional-equality-nicky-morgan

Scrapping the ban on term time holidays – my opinion

This evening I read on the BBC news that there is a campaign to scrap the ban that’s currently in place for term time holidays.

Many parents who have children in schools often complain about the soaring prices in holidays during the summer holidays. There has been a battle against attendance and fines for parents who take their child away from their education for the sake of a holiday.

I personally think this is ludicrous. I have many reasons as to why I think the ban should stay in place.

One of the most annoying thing about this argument is the attitude of many that a holiday is a right and is a necessity in life. A holiday is a treat, a real luxury which is now taken for granted by many. With a few clicks on the computer and with frequent public transport services we are able to hop aboard a plane and travel to almost any country we feel like. A break is always needed and an escape from your everyday routine can always be refreshing, however is there really a need for a family to book a holiday abroad during the summer holidays? What is wrong with a weekend break? A half term break is a little more expensive than usual but from experience I have learnt to budget for these price increases. As have many others. This leads onto my second point…

Parents aren’t the only ones who suffer this price jump during the holidays to grab an escape. All staff working in the education sector are unable to take term time holidays, how would they feel if they were told their son/daughter’s teacher won’t be in school for a week or two due to a holiday?

Some parents claim that a holiday is a learning experience and that their children will learn more on a weeks holiday than they would a week in school. This is offensive to many teachers who give most of their free time to their career and try to better these parent’s children. A holiday is a different experience and it can be a very good learning experience too. If you are willing to put the time and effort into it. Learning something is very different to experiencing it. If a parent thinks this way then I believe they should home school their child and travel around the world with them. If you know how your child learns best and know that they aren’t getting the best education – remove them. Simple!

I always say we live in a world where we are fortunate and lucky enough to have access to this amazing free education. There might be many political issues and lack of funding or support for staff, however there are many countries who do not have access to the very basics of education like reading and writing skills. Parent’s need to take a step back and see what they are actually getting for free. Some might even call our education free childcare, sometimes I agree, but again, this is something that many countries do not have.

Another point I would like to make is it isn’t just up to teachers to teach children. Parents owe it to their children to prepare them for the world in the best possible ways they can. Teacher’s need to be supported in what they do by the parents, not criticised and challenged. By removing children from the school environment for holidays whenever parent’s fancy, this stops an important cycle in teaching of observation, assessment and planning. Learning is never-ending. By removing a child from a learning environment parents are creating a block to their learning! The many learning experiences the children will miss out on in school will eventually show and it will of course be up to the teachers alone to ensure that the progress is caught up on and those children removed from school won’t be behind their peers.

There are so many arguments against this campaign and so many for it too. I understand that parents want to go on holiday with their children and make memories, but I think if parents are willing to use the free education system and want their children to do well at school, they need to play their part and keep them in the school.

By taking a child away from their daily routine for a holiday, you are slowly showing them that it is okay to not turn up to school with permission, it doesn’t matter if you miss out on a few maths lessons, you are embedding an argument of ‘I learn more out of school anyway’ for when they grow older.

Children need to be shown that holidays are luxuries and they cost a lot of money, which requires a lot of hard work! Also a there needs to be a gentle reminder to those who are campaigning, that there are a lot of families who cannot afford to feed their children in the UK, let alone a holiday during term time instead of summer holiday time. This campaign is a danger to making other parents feel like they are failing their children, or it could make them feel worse about their financial struggles.

There needs to be more unity between schools, parents and everyone in general in the world at the moment!