Due to my high functioning anxiety I have always been quite organised but even in my training year this is something I struggled with. How on earth can you organise tasks, if you have no idea how to do them or how long they will take for you to complete? When you first start your training year it is close to impossible to organise yourself in a way where you are taking full advantage of your free time and are not working from home at night or weekends. For the first two terms of my training placement I worked relentlessly from home and my social life was non-existent. I was drowning in the work and didn’t know how to stay afloat. The further into my placement I got, the more I began to realise how long things would realistically take me. I learnt how to draw on support and research to aid my understanding of how to complete the tasks I was faced with. By the end of my training year I had begun to build on some organisational strategies which led my NQT year to be more successful and allowed myself to not work weekends and regain my life rather than feeling like a slave to the workload. I really wish someone would have sat me down and shared some tips or strategies to not only help me survive my training year but to enjoy and thrive in it. Here are the key things I struggled with the most in my training year:
I hope this blog gives you some practical strategies that doesn’t sell you an unrealistic dream. These strategies took me months perfect so please don’t expect them to magically work overnight – these are long term solutions for me and my teaching style and not a ‘quick fix’. The best advice I can give you is to try as many different ways as you can to organise yourself which fit your teaching style. Teaching is not a ‘one size fits all’ job therefore neither is how you organise yourself as every works in completely different ways. What I will also say, is that I am just completing my NQT year which makes me a newbie on the block, feel free to try my strategies but do not take them as the bible.
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Like Dan Carlin and his Hardcore History podcast, Edusites focus on language starts with a hardcore blog from Chris Barcock. Chris is an expert wordsmith and was part of the team that devised the new GCSE and IGCSE and more recently helped devise the new A Level English frameworks.
For me, teaching was always the plan. Go to school, college, university then become a teacher. I even signed this in my year 6 leavers book. During my rough childhood, books allowed me to escape reality and my teachers made me feel loved and wanted, which I craved. I thought, what better job to have than one that inspires people and cares for them at the same?
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!
Throughout my life I have always struggled with my high functioning anxiety, and when I went to university this hit an all time high to the point where I couldn’t bring myself to get on public transport, so my attendance at university really suffered.
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.