Placement Looms: Real pupils in real schools

The day after my very first post, an email arrived from the University’s School Experience Officer. The subject left no air of mystery whatsoever:


It was an email I hadn’t expected, but had been eagerly (and anxiously) awaiting for some time. What school would I be going to? Would it be a good school? How far will I have to travel?

Each student on the BA Primary course has to undertake a placement in a learning environment in each of the three years. My placement this year is scheduled between March and May. With it being the very first one, I don’t think anyone truly knows what to expect. Until now I’ve been able to put the idea of actually teaching children – REAL children – into a part of my mind where I can acknowledge it’s going to happen eventually, but satisfy myself with the thought that it’s still some way off.

Until now.

Now it’s very real. Now I have a school. Now I have something I can’t file away. I have something to put in my diary, a website I can look up, an ESTYN inspection report to read, and a Twitter profile to start following.

It doesn’t matter how relaxed you are about the idea of teaching (I’m genuinely really looking forward to qualifying) because when you’re faced with the thought of going into a school and teaching your very first lessons, I would challenge anybody who says they’re not a bit nervous.

But is nervousness a bad thing?

Sure, it might shave some hours off your average sleeping time. But doesn’t nervousness keep you sharp, focused and ‘on-task’? Doesn’t it make sure you don’t rest on your laurels? We’re nervous, apprehensive and maybe a little worried for one simple reason:

We care.

We care about doing it right. We care about doing a great job, and showing how good we can be.

Whilst the email from the School Experience Officer left no air of mystery, my first teaching experience is a huge step into the unknown.

Right, pencils down. That’s the end of our time. Until next time – hwyl fawr!


The Difficult First Post

I’ve written a personal blog for over three years now, so I should know exactly how to get started with a new one, right? Wrong.

Somehow, the responsibility of starting a professional blog seems like a very serious undertaking. If I start too strongly, I might mislead you into thinking this blog will be something it can’t live up to. If I don’t start strongly enough…well….you won’t still be reading now.

Could do better. Stronger start needed.

In September 2016, I turned my back on a 12 year career in Retail Management to embark on a new venture into the world of teaching. Teaching is something I’ve always dreamed of doing, but entering Higher Education as a mature student is still no less daunting than my 18 year old self would have found it.

Much better. Keep it up.

The University of South Wales in Newport will be my home until the summer of 2019 (doesn’t that seem a long way away?) but in the meantime this blog will chart my thoughts and ramblings as I negotiate the choppy waters of being a student teacher. My hope is that my experiences will resonate with other students also trying to keep their metaphorical vessels from sinking.

As I survive lectures, assignments, observations and placements I will be sharing everything I find useful, whether it be apps that could add value in the classroom or lesson plans and ideas that I particularly like. But maybe most importantly, I’ll tell you what it’s like to be a mature student teacher in Wales in 2017.

Right, pencils down. That’s the end of our time. Until next time – hwyl fawr!