Uni Top Tips

Hello again!

Freshers week seems like so long ago for an old biddy like me… but there are certainly things that I wish I knew before coming to university! Here are a few:

  1. It is impossible NOT to make friends

Like a lot of people, your main concern right now might be finding those you’ll get on with. And trust me… you will definitely find them. You will meet soooo many students who are likely to also have the same concern! Take your time and enjoy speaking to new people.

  1. You probably don’t need that extra tea towel

I bought SO much stuff that I have barely used. You DON’T need 3 frying pans, 4 tea towels and 15 spices. Okay maybe I exaggerated a little. However once I settled in my accommodation, I realised that I bought too many things with such little uses. If you forget something you actually need, you can always pick it up next time your home.

  1. Cutlery goes missing

No matter how much you buy and no matter where you put it, it gets lost. And I don’t mean there’s a cutlery thief…there is a cutlery ghost. I have no idea how it happens or where my forks end up, but I am now down to one tea spoon and a pair of scissors. Honestly it is a MYSTERY. So ignore point 2 – bring as much cutlery as you possibly can.

  1. Library luck

I never went to the library to do my work for sixth form as I was never really a fan (or thought I wasn’t). HOWEVER, it has now become my second home. Edge Hill’s new Catalyst building offers 4 floors of work spaces of different noise levels, with meeting rooms, printing hubs and even its own café. I would highly recommend visiting, as I wish I had visited more for my first couple of years at uni!

  1. HAVE FUN

Balancing work and play can be easy to preach but harder to do. Edge Hill have so many people who are there to support you such as student guides, tutors and the student help desk where you can find one-to-one support if needed. No one should be working 24/7, and university is the time to go out n about!! So make sure you look after yourself, and treat yo’ self to day trips and nights out with your mates.

Thanks for reading, have a fantastic week!

 

 

Accommodation AFTER First Year

Hello friends!

I hope you are having a lovely Mother’s day. As I have written about first year accommodation before, I thought I would talk about accommodation for second and third year students. Edge Hill’s fantastic accommodation was voted best student accommodation in the UK and Ireland and best value for money (National Student Housing Awards, 2018)… and I am not surprised one bit! However, you do not have to stay on campus, it is completely up to you!

Living in Ormskirk

The perks of living in Ormskirk is that you are VERY close to the town centre, which means you are a short walk away from Morrison’s, Aldi, Maccies, Superdrug, Spoons, Alpine… the list goes on! And when I say ‘walk away’ I mean they are literally on your door step. AND the bus that travels to Edge Hill’s campus is free for all students when you show your student ID card. However, my housemates and I usually walk as it is only 10 minutes away, and a breath of fresh air is a good way to get the day of work started!

Living on Campus

If you prefer to stay on campus however, you can apply to stay in Edge Hill’s accommodation or in Woodland Court (brand new flats for third year students). You can find out everything you need to know including facilities and costs on Edge Hill’s website. Although you will have to get a bus into town, there is still plenty going on at the Student Union bar such as karaoke, quizzes and Wednesday socials! You also get to be a 2-minute walk away from Edge Hill’s new library, the Catalyst (where I have been living the past couple of weeks).

Commuting from Home

If you would rather stay at home, commuting is always an option (depending on where you live and how far you are willing to travel of course!). You can apply for a parking permit so you can park in Edge Hill’s car park which is always open and right on campus.

Let me know if you have any more questions about accommodation for second and third years!

Until next time,

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re doing good and enjoying this tropical March weather! As it is Mother’s day today (even though every day is obviously Mother’s day), I thought I would talk about ideas for last minute gifts, and places to go!

Edge Hill Stalls

My mum is a BIG fan of candles. Every week people set up stall in Edge Hill’s hub to sell gifts,  jewellery etc. My favourite stall sells beautiful candles decorated with crystals and gems. They all have different scents – I bought a passionfruit-scented candle for my mum this year!

Sentimental Stuff

However, if your mum is not a candle lover you could go for something simple yet sentimental. For example, a nice photo frame with a printed picture or collage can make a lovely gift!

Meal out or meal in?

Maybe you prefer to take your mum out for the day? Perhaps a spa day or a meal out (probably involving wine) could be the perfect thing to do on Mother’s day! Instead of going for a meal out, why don’t you cook a meal in? You don’t have to spend up to make Mother’s day feel special.

What have you been up to today?

Teaching Jobs

Hello everyone!

I hope you have had a fantastic weekend. Since I am coming to the end of my university course,  it is that time where everyone is looking for their dream school to work with!

Edge Hill University offer a lot of  support to help you search for work. In 2018, 95% of students who completed my primary education course found employment within 6 months after finishing their degree. Edge Hill Careers offer advice on lots of topics of discussion such as job-hunting and CV writing. It is easy to book an appointment online.

NQT pools

Different authorities and areas have their own ‘NQT pool.’ I hadn’t heard of teacher pools before so wanted to find out more information about them. Some pools may require an application, interview and teaching observation. Once you gain a place in the pool, different schools in that area have access to your information and experience. From here, they contact you directly to offer an interview. I highly recommend researching which pools you would consider joining!

School websites

Individual schools often advertise their vacancies on their official website. There are usually the following information and documents available: application form, person specification, job description, a closing date and an interview date. So if you have a specific school in mind, perhaps from your previous placements or work experience,  make sure to have a look and see if there are any vacancies available!

Other Websites

Other websites provide filtered search engines to help you search for vacancies that match what you are looking for. Options include the location, the year group / key stage, full-time, part-time, permanent or temporary jobs.

AND if you decide teaching is not for you… the primary education degree opens you up to soooo many other options. Some people decide to do a masters in a different subject and others begin to teach abroad! The possibilities are never-ending. Wishing you the best of luck!

Speak soon,

 

Planning lessons – where to start!

Hey there!

Since there are many of you who are starting your teaching course in September, I thought I would talk about planning lessons on professional practice. As you are likely to start your placement around January time, you have plenty of time to research and get support from university.

I found the seminars before placement really useful to gain more ideas and inspiration for teaching different subjects. As you will be teaching up to 30% of the timetable in first year, you can spend some other time observing your teacher’s lessons or visiting other classes in order to feel even more inspired!

Finding inspiration:
  • Facebook groups can be really useful to discuss and share lesson ideas
  • Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest
  • websites such as TES where you can create a free account and download lots of different resources
  • advice from other teachers
  • advice from university tutors
Other things to think about:
  • class size
  • if your lesson is part of a series within a topic
  • the resources you will need e.g. are there iPads available and are there enough for the whole class?
  • deploying support staff effectively e.g. can they challenge those children who can learn at greater depth?
  • how can you make the lesson as creative as possible to make it memorable and effective?
  • if the lesson is practical, how can the children demonstrate their learning for future reference?

These are just a few ideas that I hope will be useful to you… let me know if you have any questions! Have a lovely weekend.

Teaching Courses at Edge Hill University

Hello again!

As you all know, Edge Hill University is renowned for its fantastic undergraduate and postgraduate teaching courses ranging from early years to further education. Before teaching a class of 30 children myself, I had no idea how much is involved in teaching. I also didn’t realise how much value it had. Whether it is watching a pupil understand a concept for the first time or adding a smile to their day, it made all the hard work SO worth it.

You can find more information about each type of degree and course here. The structure for each course will vary year to year, but this is a general outline of my course (Primary Education with QTS).

Specialism

Edge Hill’s teaching course is unique in the way that you can specialise in a subject when teaching primary. I chose to specialise in Science, with Art as my minor specialism. These extra modules allow us to deepen our knowledge in those certain areas and they may become a valuable edge to have when applying to be a subject lead. Therefore, when we graduate, our degree includes our major subject specialism e.g. primary science education with QTS.

Modules

My modules are slightly different this year to my previous years. This is a list of the type of modules in my degree…

  • English and Computing
  • Science and Maths
  • APD (academic professional development)
  • Major specialism
  • Minor specialism
  • Reflective practitioner (started this year)
  • Professional practice

Unlike a lot of degrees, the bulk of our modules are made up of seminars instead of lectures. This is one of the reasons this course appealed to me. Most weeks we attend one or two lectures which is a good chance to ask general questions and deepen our knowledge of various concepts. However, I enjoy the discussions and liveliness involved with our 1-2 hour seminars… and I am sure you will too!

Professional practice

As my degree is a 3-year course, placement is more spread out compared to a PGCE. This means, we completed 7 weeks in first year, 8 weeks in second year and 10 weeks in third year. Professional practice is the chance for you to understand what it is really like to have your own class. Before I started teaching in first year, I was worried I would not have the confidence. However, after lots of experience and support from the university and the school, I was able to complete my placements with success. No matter how nervous you might feel, experience will help you become the teacher you want to be!

Assessments

For primary education, there has not been a dissertation or sit-down exams. Instead we are assessed on assignments throughout the year, portfolios and lesson observations. I have enjoyed the variation in assessments and I am here to answer any further questions you may have!

I hope this has been useful in giving you more of an insight into teaching courses at Edge Hill.

Speak soon,

Managing University Work

Hello again

As my final placement came to an end a few weeks ago, I have certainly been enjoying some lie-ins and time off! However, there is still university work to be completed! My primary education course may be a little different to other types of degrees because there is no dissertation involved. This may sound ideal… but there is other work to do! For example: assignments, presentations and oral exams. As I only have a few months of university left, I want to make sure these things are done to the best of my ability in addition to enjoying the last university social events! Therefore, organisation is KEY! Here are a few handy tips that I am attempting to follow…

To-do list

Although this may not be as useful for everybody, making a to-do list can help me to visualise the work that needs to be done – I don’t know what I would do without it! As soon as you are set a new task, add it to your list! If you want to be EXTRA organised (or too organised?) you can use highlighters to colour-code the urgency in which things need to be completed.

Work space

For me, Edge Hill’s library provides the perfect environment to focus on my work. I am quite the procrastinator ya see… so sitting at a desk with 3 walls surrounding it is the PERFECT spot for someone like me! You can find out more about Edge Hill’s library in the Catalyst building here. However, other people may work best in the comfort of their own home. It is completely up to you, but make sure you know where you prefer to work as this could save you a lot of time.

End goal

If work starts to feel overwhelming, remember to take things one step at a time. There is only so much energy you can put in. If you’re lacking motivation, picture yourself a few months down the line. What kind of grades do you want? Where do you want to be? Always keep your end goal in mind.

Relax

No matter what or how much work you get, university tutors do NOT expect you to be working 24/7. Frankly, it’s IMPOSSIBLE. Go outside. Clear your mind. Make a hot drink. Go for a walk. Visit your family and friends. Have an Alpine night out. Most of all… do what you enjoy and make sure you get some down-time.

Let me know if you have any queries and I’ll try my best to answer! Until next time…

Applying for Jobs

Hello everyone!

I hope you have been enjoying this lovely weather. It is unbelievable to think that the ‘Beast from the East’ was one year ago… and now look at us! For primary education, some jobs are beginning to become available so it is a time of applications and interviews! Whether you’re also applying to schools, or applying for part-time jobs whilst you’re at university, here are some tips that might be useful to you!

Work experience / Volunteering

If you get the chance, try to arrange some work experience if it is desirable for a job that you’re applying for. However, you might already have lots of experience to reflect on!

Edge Hill’s careers centre

Edge Hill have wonderful careers centre where you can arrange a meeting for advice and guidance. You can find out more about them here. There are also careers fairs that Edge Hill put on throughout the year  in the student hub!

 

Your Application Form

Keep it relevant to the job you’re applying for. For example, if you’re wanting to work at a local youth centre, any experience working with children will be useful to speak about. For the jobs I have applied to in the past (like a children’s residential camp) there was guidance for filling out the application form on the website. This was really useful and reassuring, so make sure to keep an eye out for something similar!

Interview

I had my first interview for a NQT pool and I tried to think of it as a ‘practise interview,’ which really helped me to relax. I would also advise to take some kind of portfolio with you. Although it may not be completely necessary, it could be the thing that makes you stand out from the other candidates.

Whether you’re thinking of applying for a full-time or part-time job, I wish you the very best of luck!!!

Speak soon,

Nights Out at Edge Hill

Hello guys!

Since I am coming to the end of my placement, I am very much looking forward to a night out with my friends… even though I will miss my pupils VERY much!

I thought I would share with you my ideas on a good night out at Edge Hill…

  1. Students’ Union Bar

You can always rely on the students’ union bar for a good night out, ESPECIALLY on Wednesday nights for socials! Each week you can expect to see different societies or sports teams out with different themes (I have joined in with football, basketball and even our own primary education society). The drinks are cheap and the taxi is £3 from Ormskirk if you don’t live on campus and don’t really fancy the walk!

  1. Alpine

Oh Alpine… what can I say? This place has been the beginnings of many memories during my university experience. The music, and most of all, the people, have made it the perfect place for a good night out. You’re guaranteed to have a good boogie with your mates or splash out on the delicious happy hour cocktails!

  1. Bars

Ormskirk is full of cute places to grab some gentle drinks, with Dinky Dory and The Mad Hatter being two of my favourites.

  1. LIVERPOOL

And of course… there is Liverpool which is ONLY a 35-minute train ride away. Also, if you manage to book a taxi in advance, it can often work out as a similar price to the train. Liverpool is bigger than Ormskirk so if you’re feeling like a bigger night out, Liverpool is the place for you. Initially, I thought I would travel to Liverpool every other week… until I realised that my nights out in Ormskirk are JUST AS GOOD!

Where do you like going out?

Until next time,

 

Running a School Club

Hello! How are you?

I am SO close to the end of my final placement of primary education… and I know the last day is going to be a sad one! Not only because I will miss the children, but because I will miss everybody who works at the school. I have never been in a place so welcoming with so many smiley faces. By knowing there is a lot of support around me, it has really made the placement work a lot easier!

In order to meet the criteria for teachers’ standard 8, it is extremely important to take on more responsibilities. For example, helping out at a Christmas fair or simply working cooperatively with colleagues and parents. Since I am very passionate for art, I have been running my own art club for pupils in year 4. Getting involved with messy art activities has been a lot of fun – for me and the children!

If you are also on professional practice, or know you will be soon, I definitely recommend creating your own club! Obviously, it depends on the school and which type of clubs they are already running. However, if you have the chance I 100% say go for it!

Last week the children began to create ‘galaxy jars’ by sticking tissue paper on a glass jar like a mosaic. It was a pretty simple activity but VERY effective. We will be finishing them off with a bit of glitter tomorrow! Who doesn’t love a bit of glitter?

I would love to hear about any clubs you are, or soon will be running!

Speak soon,