Teacher Training Diaries: Learning & Practice.

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Well I made it! I survived my first seven weeks as a trainee teacher. It was a long slog of training, learning and observing. I have had training sessions on Mathematics, Science, English and different types of assessment. I have started my first university module ‘Raising the Achievement of Children’ and had half the autumn term to get to know the children in my home school.

Now, the real work begins! It’s half term now but when I go back I will begin teaching a full class of 5 and 6 year old’s. Starting with six lessons a week, working up to fifteen by the fourth week, yikes! I feel like this part of my teacher training journey is ‘learning and practice.’ Taking everything I have learnt so far and putting it into practice.

I know you have to teach to become a teacher but the thought of teaching a full class, on my own, makes my palms sweat! I know that once I start doing it, teaching will become second nature to me but it’s the anticipation, the worry about what may go wrong that keeps me up at night. I’m not the only one that feels this way. There are twelve other people in my school direct cohort and they all have the same anxieties.

The teacher training course is going to step up a gear as I will have to juggle writing lesson plans, teaching lessons, keeping my files up to date, writing university assignments and pre-reading and tasks for training days. I’m trying to keep a work/life balance the best I can because if I am going to make it through this training year, I need to learn to take a break and have some time for myself.

When I go back after this break, I will be in my home school for four whole weeks and then I will be returning to the old routine of three days in school and two in university and training. Hopefully in my next post I will be more confident in my ability to teach and will have many stories to tell about the lessons I have taught. I will be reflecting on what went well and what I still need to work on, as that’s what being on this journey is all about, the ups and downs of what it takes to become a fully qualified primary school teacher.

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Poetry Is

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Poetry is freedom. Poetry is emotion. Poetry will always be whatever you choose for it to be.

It is hard to define poetry because poetry can be anything you want it to be. It can be one word placed in the middle of a page. It can be fifteen pages long if you want it to be. There has to be rhythm but does there have to be rhyme? I used to believe this. That poetry had to rhyme but now I have opened my eyes and my mind and now I really stand by the statement that poetry can be anything you want it to be.

I have been writing poetry since the age of five. It is something that I naturally do. The voice in my head creates metaphors, phrases and rhymes. I write them all down and create something wonderful that describes my feelings, my thoughts and my emotions. Each poem I write is another snapshot image of a memory of mine, a piece of writing that paints a picture, words that capture my interpretations of the world.

Although my Creative Writing course includes a poetry module, I strongly believed that poetry should not be taught. I found the module to be pointless and a little bit tedious at times. I didn’t want to learn about poetics, I just wanted to write poetry! I thought it was a waste of time until my teacher’s reaction to my work persuaded me to change the way I write my poetry and I am glad she did.  My poetry teacher blatantly told us that we couldn’t write poems that rhymed for our portfolios. What? I was in disbelief… I have been writing poetry for about fifteen years and more times than not, I used rhyme.  Of course this surprised me, I went against her wishes and wrote the poems that I wanted to write. I then showed her the first draft of my collection and she quite literally crossed them out and muttered ‘too many cliches’, ‘too many rhymes’, ‘I don’t like that.’ That’s her opinion of course and this is why I believed that poetry should not be taught. The marking is too subjective. How can one poem be compared to another?

However, sometimes people have to be cruel to be kind and I took my poetry collection away and tried to write something different to prove her wrong. I started to write my second drafts, I removed some of the rhymes and cliches, I played around with different styles, line breaks and formations and recreated my portfolio. I definitely surprised her when I received my final mark, not only did I receive a high mark but also a comment that it was good enough to be published. Okay, so maybe I was wrong. Poetry can be taught. Kind of. Or maybe not. It was her opinion that pushed me to change my poetry but she did not teach me what was right from wrong. I think my point is that a writer can be taught and guided to improve their craft but it is a different thing entirely to say that one poem is the right way to write poetry and another poem is the wrong way. I still write rhyming poems but the strong opinions of my lecturer’s taste pushed me to try something different and step out of my comfort zone. I still use rhyme in some of my poetry but now I have the confidence to write poetry that is a little bit more original… and that is a great lesson I learned on a module that I originally didn’t believe should exist.