Thursday, 12 September 2013

Second Year Placement

I've been meaning to write a blog about my second year at uni for a while, but I never got round to it.. So here goes:

Starting with placement, the most recent of educational things I have done. This year I found it hard to settle in to start with. Last year, I was told by my uni tutor that I had said something in the staff room which offended someone. They wouldn't tell me what was said, or who I had offended so I never had the chance to apologise. On my second placement, the same thing happened. I have never been so upset about something I didn't know anything about. Who had I said something to this time?  I approached my in school tutor, who told me this wasn't true and she was completely happy with me, but essentially, it's made me feel awkward and uncomfortable about talking in a place where I didn't know. For a week or so, I was really withdrawn and edgy but it turns out most of the teachers had the exact same thoughts that we had.

Travelling was hard for me, I was 60 miles from home and so arranged to stay with a friend in Exeter. I was commuting 22 miles a day, and this really got to me so I was poorly on the last day of the first week! I made a decision to stay in a host family, but I was so nervous! Turns out it was easy, the people I stayed with were lovely and I had a Marjons student staying as well so I wasn't alone in my nights planning lessons at the dining room table! We got on so well we're going to a concert together in September - I cannot wait! Only bad thing about the host family is the expenses, something which I am trying to account for this year.

My partner in school was lovely and I'd love to work with her again! Working with an art specialist was really interesting, the blend of ideas we had worked really well in the classroom and I don't think I've ever had so much fun. The kids were quirky and creative and we got to see some really unique situations in behaviour management. We got to see children who were textbook autistic, children with issues at home, children who had anger problems and children who just liked to stand out. Meeting parents who were really enthusiastic about their children being taught by us was the best.

Working with a child who had issues at home was one of the most rewarding experiences of placement. In fact, out of all of my placements, this experience has been the best! The child just wanted to be normal, to be treated like a normal child but  had a 1-1 TA, whom he loved but he couldn't understand why he was different. Truth is, he was normal he just couldn't control his frustration and was putting other children at risk. Over the period of weeks, me and Jess managed to build a relationship with him, we treated him just like every other child and the last week we managed to keep him in the class for 4 full days, an achievement he had never experienced. He loved playing basketball and although his team skills weren't the greatest, if he did his work in class, he knew we would eat our lunch and head out to the playground to shoot some hoops..

Teaching the children equivalent fractions was an interesting experience because something incredible happened and our teacher couldn't quite believe it. I used the game fractonimoes, where the children paired a picture of a fraction with a domino of equivalent number. One lunch time I was tidying up and in comes the child I was talking about above. He said he had no one to play with and so just sat down and asked to play fractonimoes. He sat quite happy for a good 20 minutes before deciding to go and try again with his friends. They were really proud of him for making a conscious decision to come inside and talk to someone instead of getting angry when no one would let him join in other games.

Placement was the last thing we did this year and although I wasnt looking forward to it, I had a really great time. But the rest of the year was hard.. I've moved three times since I started and I don't exactly feel like I fitted in. Every cohort has the cliques, but I don't fit into any of them. At least I don't think I do! Because I'm always busy or working, finding time to spend with people on my course is difficult. I have friends on the course, people I love spending what time I do have with but group work is hard and that is something I noticed too much this year. Each completing one small task doesn't work effectively, and finding the time to work together is even harder.

Since starting this post and deciding to come back to it at a later date, I have been on holiday, ended a relationship, moved into a student house and taken my old job back. I'm looking forward to the next year, not for the work or the money but because it means I'm one year closer to my dream. Next year, I've promised myself I will finish driving lessons, pass my QTS tests and do my assignments with plenty of time! I plan to do more reading, be more critical and spend more time in the library instead of at home finding ways to avoid the tasks!

Wish me luck!