The Creative Teacher Project

An NQT Bringing Creativity to the Classroom


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My Final Prac: Week 2

Goodbye Year 12

Flower Day

Week 2 flew by barely giving me a chance to register it had been and gone. It’s that time of the school year in Australia, where the year 12s (equivalent to sixth form) are leaving school, with some study time before they sit their leaving exams.

This week I enjoyed

Getting to know the students a little better. I’ve mastered the names of most of my classes, which is a boon, and makes giving production notes a lot easier! My face has obviously become a lot more familiar to them as well, as I’ve been invited to sit with some girls for a chat, which has made me feel quite cool. I know as a teacher you are supposed to rise above the school politics, but I guess it doesn’t matter how old you are, it’s nice to be liked, and nice to have people to talk to! The upper school girls also went on an excursion this week, so I joined them and then helped them workshop some Variety Night scenes. It was so much fun! Teenagers, believe it or not, are often quite delightful.

This week challenged me because

It was the week of my first meeting with my university supervisor, and the key with meeting your US is be so prepared that through the strategic thrusting of documents into their face you confuse them into thinking you’re amazing. It’s quite simple, once you master the paper thrusting technique…but honestly, meeting someone who will assess you is very intimidating, and because I’m not teaching yet I almost feel as though I don’t know what to show her. I haven’t yet come totally to grips with what I’ll be sharing with my classes (particularly my year 10s) and so I feel a little apprehensive about the whole situation. I think that’s normal though…I’m pretty sure that’s normal….

Something I found interesting totally bloomin’ lovely

My placement school is big on traditions, not particularly in an ‘establishment’ sort of way, but more in the vein of ritual. This week, being the last week for year 12 was full of commemorative assemblies, meetings and lunches, and most touchingly, Flower day. On Flower day, parents and the younger students bring in flowers for the year 12 students that they know, or whom to they look up to, as a thank you for their time at school. It was a touching gathering, where I had to look away for a few moments, because *ahem* I Had Something In My Eye. I don’t even know the year 12s at all, but there I was, trying my best not to blub. I remember that time of my life so well. It’s scary, sad and terribly exciting.

There was also an assembly to announce the student council for next year, where the graduating council welcomed the new members onstage, and dressed them in their new council blazers. It can seem stupid, sentimental and silly sometimes, but I could clearly see how much these traditions meant to the girls, and how much they contribute to the atmosphere in the school. It has been a truly lovely week.

 

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Practicum: Week One

Slightly fatigued after my first week!

 

It’s Friday afternoon, my mentor teacher has gone for the week and I’m sitting at what is my desk for the period and looking out over an expansive oval outside my window. It’s been a pretty great week.

I was apprehensive about starting practicum as I didn’t feel as prepared as I would have liked. Luckily day 1 was a staff PD day, which was a great introduction to the school without the pressure of being chucked straight into classes. I’ve been allocated 5 classes to teach and participate in: 1 year 7 class (age 12), 2 year 8 classes (13 years) and 2 year 10 classes (15). They are all rehearsing for an upcoming variety night showcase, and so I wont get to get my teeth fully into teaching them for another two/three weeks.

So far I have enjoyed:

Being welcomed to the school by the Principal on Day 1. Being introduced to staff members and having other staff introduce themselves to me out of the blue. It might sound like a tiny thing, but as a prac student, I am definitely on the back foot and it’s the sum total of these tiny acts that make me feel included and welcome at the school.

I’ve definitely enjoyed being around the students. This is a girl’s school, something I’ve never experienced before, and to be honest I was worried that they might be a little aloof. I couldn’t have been more wrong. These kids are not only totally delightful, but passionate about drama and so want to be there! It feels like such a treat.

This week has challenged me because:

I feel like a bit of a fraud, and it seems like all of my drama knowledge has evaporated out of the window, and I don’t know what to teach. As I sat in our IT induction I had to remind myself that everyone feels out of their depth, and that everyone feels like they don’t know what they’re doing (at least) half the time. Deep breaths, Sam. It will come. I just have to stay calm and be ready to do some research. No biggie.

I have also struggled with a bit of shyness this first week, although again, I think that’s pretty normal. Just have to pluck up my courage and talk. I learned a great strategy from my mother’s partner, who said that people really actually want to talk about themselves, so if I ask a lot of questions, then it wont be long before people open up and chat my ear off! it seems to be working….mwah hah hah…

Something I’ve found interesting:

Early in the week I found myself circulating around groups in class because I felt as though I had to, but then about Thursday morning I realised that I wasn’t taking the opportunity that was right in front of me! When I’m observing a class, I don’t need to be the one that is making sure they’re getting on with their work, I should take the opportunity to learn more about the student! I should ask what work they like doing, what work they absolutely hate, and what they like about their teacher’s strategies. Use it as a time for market research! It’s a great opportunity to workshop ideas as well, and see if I can’t come up with a few week’s worth of lessons that they will find engaging.

 

All in all, it’s been possibly the best week I could have hoped for. I’m sure there will be difficult days ahead, and that not all lessons will go to plan, but hey, that’s life. I’m just relieved that it has gone so well so far.  I’ll keep in touch!


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Au Revoir University, Bonjour Practicum!

Just a short and sweet post today. I’ve handed in my last assignment ever for my graduate diploma, said goodbye to some truly amazing lecturers and fellow student teachers. It’s done and dusted, I’ve learned all the theory I’m ever going to learn at university, and now’s it’s time for some practical work. Tomorrow is the BIG DAY when I’ll be starting my longest and final prac placement. I’m apprehensive but excited, and am spending today brushing up on my low key responses and doing the all important laundry, making sure all my teacher-appropriate clothes are clean!

For any of you out there about to start their placements, I wish you the best of luck, the funniest students and the most supportive mentor teachers. This year has whizzed by, It’s hard to believe. I’ll be updating the blog throughout the next 7 weeks, and hopefully some of you will find my experiences helpful, or at least in some way relatable.

What a year. Wish me luck for the last part!