What I’m up to over the summer! ☀️

Summer is finally here!

I can’t tell you how nice it is to finally get some time to myself and rest. The first year of university has been absolutely amazing but also incredibly tiring and it’s nice to take a breather and relax for a bit. I flew back out to Saudi Arabia to spend some time with my Dad. Although I’m waking up at 2pm some days I am also still working and doing things that will support my course.

While I am out in Saudi I have set up a tutoring service for primary level. This is really nice to do as it’s flexible to you and your plans but you are gaining vital experience while you are out of training.

If you are studying Primary Education with QTS it may be a good idea to volunteer at primary schools or try and if there are any summer schools on near you. Head over to this website to see if there are any around your area. It’s not a requirement but it will help you enormous amounts to continue working with children and learning more about great teaching. It also gets you away from Netflix for a bit.

Image result for reading free image

I am also finally getting to read what I want to read. No more journal articles, textbooks or children’s books. Well, I’m still reading a  few children’s books to add to my reading journal (which again, you should do if you are joining Primary Ed in September) but I’m finally getting to read my own books! Yay!

I am working out here and I’m working a lot because my student loan doesn’t cover the fees for the house I’m living in so I’m saving up to make sure I make my payments and hopefully I can save a little more for myself. I’m hoping to do some driving lessons and my test this year so there may be a post on that too if that is something you’re interested in doing too.

Most importantly, I am chilling out. I am binge watching everything I’ve been wanting too and enjoying the lie-ins. It’s really great spending time with family and friends. I’m going to give myself 6-7 more weeks of me time and then I’m going to slowly get back into Uni-mode.  I hope you’re all really excited for September – you should be!

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How to prepare for Primary Education with QTS at Edge Hill 👩🏽‍🎓

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Hello!

September is edging closer and closer, and while I urge you to enjoy this time off as much as possible it is important to keep in mind that you are soon going to be a university student and organisation is absolutely paramount. If you are going into the Primary Ed course then look out for summer tasks as last year we had a pre-course summer booklet to work through. I am unsure if this is the case this year but do check. We did use them in our first few weeks – especially the reading.

Read read read:
Whether or not you have a pre-course booklet or whether or not it is included in any task you receive, you must read some children’s books over the summer.  It was part of our summer task but then ended up being part of a requirement for the English subject: to read 10 children’s books. If you can get a head start during the summer then do that, you will thank yourself later – trust me!
These are some great ones to start with:

Books

Get onto Pinterest and start looking at teaching ideas:
If you haven’t heard of Pinterest then I may be about to change your life. Pinterest is a sort of social network where you can find inspiration and ideas for hobbies and stuff, however, if you just type in ‘teaching’ you will be bombarded by hundreds and thousands of teaching ideas. It is important not to become a ‘Pinterest teacher’ where you can’t make anything up from your own creativity but it’s great to go on and find some inspiration.  I would have a look before you come on the course and before your first placement!

Click the image below to have a quick look at some ideas ☺️

Pinterest Screenshot

Social Media and EduTwitter:
When you arrive in September the tutors will talk to you about your social media presence and how it all needs to be privatised and carefully checked to ensure you aren’t being unprofessional. I can’t stress how important this is because teachers from your placement will absolutely check your social media before you arrive so making a good impression is important.

Tutors will also direct you to Twitter, EduTwitter to be precise. This is kind of like Pinterest but on a different format. It’s teachers helping other teachers. There is a lovely welcoming atmosphere to trainees, which to be honest with you I didn’t expect, but they all want to help. So set yourself up a new professional account and get involved in teacher twitter. Follow me on Twitter if you are interested and I will contact you with more advice in this area!
https://twitter.com/EHUMissWindross

Twitter Screenshot

Thanks for reading! Hope to see you in September ☺️

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Primary Teaching Interviews

Hello again!

After recently being successful at an interview for a local teaching position, I thought I would collect a few handy tips that helped me when applying for post-grad jobs! 

Be yourself

I have learned that most people can see straight through anyone who is pretending to be someone they are not. The school are not looking for the ‘perfect teacher.’ They are looking for the teacher that is perfect for THEIR school. Be yourself, have general chit-chat and do not forget to smile!

Don’t be disheartened

This is the most important thing to remember. You may go through 10 interviews before finding the right school for you and do NOT settle. When everyone appears to be gaining jobs around you try not to panic. It is better to wait and find school fit for you, rather than rush into anything that may not be as good for you further down the line.

Talk about experience

At interviews, it can be really useful to relate each of your points to experience form professional practice or pre-university placements. It is easy to make random statements but what you say must be backed up. I also found it easier to answer questions when thinking about my personal teaching background.

Think about each step

Your interview might consist of teaching tasks or observations, so it is important to consider different possibilities. If you are asked to teach a lesson, ensure there is time for discussion, a clear learning outcome and 2 or 3 printed lesson plans to hand to your observers. Although it may be unnecessary, it will hopefully demonstrate your organisation and planning.

Seek out opportunities

NQT pools can bring about opportunities that you do not expect. By having your name added to a local teaching pool, schools can contact you directly if they see you as a potential candidate for their teaching post. I definitely recommend joining at least one. it can also be beneficial to visit the school before sending off your application form. This will allow you to speak to members of staff, observe children’s work and get a general feel for the school. If you end up loving a school you visit, they are likely to remember you when shortlisting applicants.

Use advice from Edge Hill

And finally… use the support that Edge Hill provides! On learning edge there is currently an employability tab for third years. This consists of all the useful information that has been discussed in lectures, in addition to a powerpoint chronologically outlining the application process for supply work, NQT pools and direct teaching jobs.

Thank you for reading and wishing you all the very best! Speak soon,

One Down, Two To Go!

Hey everyone! As you may all know, I am studying BA (HONS) Primary education with QTS here, at Edge Hill University and  I am fast approaching my final 2 weeks of the course, I thought that it would be nice to go through what I thought about certain aspects of the course.

You can read my previous blog that I did in in February, telling you all about the course – https://blogs.edgehill.ac.uk/insideedge/2019/02/10/what-is-the-primary-education-course-all-about/. However, as I said, this blog will be more about what I personally think about my course, to give a deeper insight.

Hope you enjoy!


Assignments…

Okay, lets get this one out of the way first. Throughout the whole of my first year, I had 8 written assignments, ranging from abut 750 words to 2,500 words. This may seem like a lot but in the Primary Education course, there are currently no examinations at the end of the year which, I think is a blessing in disguise.

Personally, I prefer to work on things in my own time and so, working on assignments periodically works better for me as I can have the time to properly plan them out and not stress about time limits. However, what I will say is that assignments can be stressful because of the deadlines and often the word counts are hard to abide by. I have luckily never had an issue with deadlines and this is because I start my assignments at least 3 weeks before they are due which is my BIGGEST advice. This means, I start reading around the subject and plan out what kind of structure I want my essay to follow.

 

Lectures

Not to sound like a geek but, I really do enjoy my lectures. I feel that in this course, because the content can be quite hard to follow, the lecturers try their best to make the lectures more engaging and easy to listen to. For example, we had a lecture on Maths Mastery and, I am not going to lie to you, Maths is not my favourite thing in the world however, I really really enjoyed the lecture because it was fun, it was engaging and it didn’t involve reading reams and reams of notes and calculating numbers! 

You could say this made history as it was the first maths lesson, in my life, that I smiled in.Image result for maths

Seminars

How are they different from lectures? Well, it does not include the entire course sitting in the one lecture hall. You are split into groups of at least 25-30 and have the same timetable. For example, my class have Computing, Science, Maths, English, Foundation and APD together and so this means we all have the same teacher and have our own small group chat online where we can ask each other questions and ask for advice. Image result for university lecture

In a way, I prefer seminars to lectures because they are a smaller group of people and you can connect and communicate better with teachers and with each other rather than feeling nervous about asking a question in front of 300+ people in a lecture hall.

However, that being said, I do enjoy the APD lectures we have on a Friday morning because, they are like a small introduction to what we will be learning about in the follow up APD seminar that afternoon.

My goals going into 2nd year…

I have had such a good experience with my first year on the Primary Education course with QTS and I hope that I can bring this into my following two years. I have been thinking about what goals I want to set myself for my second year so that I can get the best out of my course;

  • be more confident and answer questions in class – this will really help with speaking in front of people and communicating.
  • identify the areas I need to work on in professional practice
  • keep on top of my assignments and continue to meet deadlines in good time
  • enjoy my time!

So, that was just a small run-down of what I personally think of some of the main aspects of my course. Of course, a huge aspect of the course is the professional practice but I know that will require a more in depth post at some point. In the mean time, take a look at my post about my first professional practice! https://blogs.edgehill.ac.uk/insideedge/2019/03/17/my-experience-of-my-first-professional-practice/

I really hope that you enjoyed this post and found it useful, thank you for reading, Lauren x

“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.”

– Phil Collins 

 

Getting more than you asked for… 😱

Hello! 

I thought I’d share with you a little adventure I/we went on today, and why this made me feel very grateful for being at Edge Hill University.

As part of the Primary Education with QTS course, you choose a major specialism e.g. English, Maths, Science or Modern Foreign Languages, then a minor e.g. any of the foundation subjects (EAL and SENd are also an option!).

I chose History as my minor specialism and today we all ventured down to Liverpool to undertake a very historical and informative trip.

We all really enjoyed today and it’s a nice break from all the academia.

While I walking around today I couldn’t help but think how amazing this course, and university, really is. To get the opportunity to learn about such amazing history, on a teaching course for one, but also all the other extra bits Edge Hill do to make this place stand out from the rest.

You can learn a language! 📖

There is a Language Centre on campus that provide various different opportunities for you to study a language. This can be with your course or as a module if you are based in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, or, like me you can attend evening classes. These are open to students, staff and public, but as a registered EHU student, you pay £0! An amazing opportunity to take advantage of while you’re here.

The Student Opportunity Fund! 💰

“You can apply for up to £2,000 to support a career-enhancing project, initiative or opportunity that will enrich your student experience and enable you to stand out in a competitive environment.”

I have recently joined a networking group (#SDGNetwork) that is paid for by the SOF and it allows a group of us to better understand the importance of sustainability, how we can live more sustainable but also how to teach this to pupils in primary schools. It is an amazing experience to be a part of and I can’t believe it is covered for us under this opportunity.

I will write about this network in the future, and if you are coming to Edge Hill as a student in September 2019, you will no doubt meet some of us in a lecture or seminar! Thanks for reading!

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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,