As I walked through the school gates on the first day of placement I was nervous beyond belief. Every step I took gave me more anxiety. Am I walking like a teacher? Am I dressed correctly? Did I pack my highlighters? Will they think I am unprofessional for not having a sharpener? Multiple questions were running through my brain as I tried to gather my thoughts. As I entered the school, I started to look for what I had been told about: lazy reception staff, children fighting and arguing but there was none. Everyone was calm and the environment was peaceful, something I hadn’t prepared myself for. It is true when they say you can over prepare yourself!
As I was completing a SCITT course, I had two placements at two vastly different schools, and it is safe to say I had two extremely different experiences. One piece of advice I will share is: if you are disliking your training year, it isn’t teaching that you dislike, it is the school! Every school is completely different.
In my first placement, I felt supported but also judged. As I did not come from a teaching background, I had some ‘catching up to do’ some might say. The expectations were high and often I did feel belittled which really began to affect my confidence and therefore affected my teaching. The hardest thing to learn when you’re a trainee is how to not take comments about your teaching personally and all too often people (such as myself in the past) take these comments as a representation of them as a person and not a critique of a journey they have literally just begun. I decided that I wasn’t going to let these comments haunt me and began to organise these comments into achievable goals and create strategies to achieve them. Here is how I did that:
This helped me to reflect on the ideas I had tried out and to also help remind me that teaching is a journey. Everything gets better with practice!
When I moved on to my second placement, the school was a stark contrast as to where I had just been. Yes the children were more challenging, but staff-well being and knowledge was at the forefront of every department. I learnt an immense amount of knowledge in 12 weeks and really did not want to leave. My mentor would not only tell me constructive feedback, he would show me different ways to apply this feedback and always praised me for trying something new. Even at the age of 23 I loved having someone tell me I was doing the best that I could and that was OK. This placement help me accept my own individuality and what I personally bring to teaching.
In my first placement I was truly afraid of failure, petrified of having a ‘bad’ lesson or trying something new. If you are reading this nodding your head, then please hear me when I say this: try as many techniques, strategies, and teaching styles as you can. Find what best works for you to develop your own teaching style – you will thank yourself in your NQT year that you did!
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Edusites English (GCSE or IGCSE) 9-1 (Language or Literature) is the place for teachers looking for ideas and information to work with students identifying and interpreting writers' effects. Edusites English continuing professional development supports whole departments to form a critical difference in vocabulary, grammatical features and structural texts.
Join Edusites English for AQA English Literature and English Language constantly evolving in collaboration with trusted teachers, specialists and academics, always with your classroom in mind. Edusites is renowned for subject expertise and targeted resources – including support for post-16 and resit teachers.
As part of our new blogs series from teachers who are using Edusites in their classrooms we are delighted that Helen has shared her experience of sitting timed questions with students. There is something wonderful about sitting papers along with students, not least because it causes the classroom to be filled with a group dynamic of concentrated hush...
This layout allows for the connections to be made between words and leaves space for students to write down modeled examples of sentences that had the flexibility to be inserted into their writing regardless of the question. We looked at the patterns, links and the etymology of the words. We spent the lesson thinking about how to use each word effectively and the way that some words had nuanced meaning.
The ability to compare and contrast is one of the most important and challenging skills to master for the GCSE and IGCSE 9 to 1 English Language and English Literature. Previously compare and contrast techniques were tested only by Controlled Assessment in one of the four units of English Literature: now it reaches across both specifications as detailed below. It takes on much greater significance because some reading passages in GCSE and IGCSE English Language and English Literature are unseen.
AQA make clear their ‘take’ on context which starts life in the DfE curriculum order of 2013: under the heading ‘reading comprehension and reading critically’ there are the following bullet points:literal and inferential comprehension: understand a word, phrase or sentence in context critical reading: identify the theme and distinguish between themes; support a point of view by referring to evidence in the text; using understanding of writers’ social, historical and cultural contexts to inform evaluation…of the text.
In English Language the section dedicated to critical reading and comprehension states that students should ‘draw inferences and justify these with evidence; support a point of view by referring to evidence within the text…’.In Assessment Objective AO2 there is the clear injunction: ‘use relevant subject terminology to support their views’. Assessment Objective AO4 asks them to ‘evaluate texts critically’: the questions for this will lead them towards such evaluation.
A sample section of Edusites English AQA Unseen Poetry Anthology. Includes an introduction around meaning, discussion points for the classroom and teaching tips for two poems. Top Examiner Tips look at what is required in answering unseen poems in terms of the assessment objectives, structuring a response, how to reference effectively and how to compare and contrast. Includes practice exam questions, using the poems, written as per AQA body structure and style.
In addition to these exam papers, Edusites has moderation videos, 360-degree analyses of how and why marks are awarded, for teacher and students to develop their skills.
Edusites English is the place to find English GCSE and IGCSE Language exams. But our exams, written by language experts, are not just about weighing the pig we have smart resources to fatten it too...
The Tibbets Paper 1 was sat in the Summer of 2018. The second of our feedback documents comes to you as a booklet which can be printed off for all of your students after sitting the exam for them to gain skills to apply in their next attempt.
GCSE English Language Exam Paper help from our expert Grainne Hallahan using a scientific method to get results! Like a juicy little nut that needs to be opened, the new Language paper landed in our inboxes in 2015, quite a different beast compared to its predecessor.
With Edusites English you'll find everything you need to prepare for GCSE (9-1) English Language Literature including schemes of work, anthologies and sample assessment materials.
The ability to compare and contrast is one of the most important and challenging skills to master for the 9 to 1 English Language and English Literature. Previously compare and contrast techniques was tested only by Controlled Assessment in one of the four units of English Literature: now it reaches across both specifications as detailed below. It takes on much greater significance because some reading passages in English Language and English Literature are unseen.