Interview Process for Primary Education with QTS

What happened in the interview?

I went with my Mum, Dad and best friend to the interview. When we arrived, we went in for a ‘Welcome’ talk in the lecture theatre where they told us the itinerary for the day. We went for a campus tour first while my Dad stayed for a Q&A session in the lecture theatre. After that, I completed my English and Maths tasks. During this time, we were called up to do our group activity where the tutors give you random items and you have to discuss with other prospective students about how you could use these in the classroom and then I had a 1:1 talk with the tutor who asked me questions about teaching.

Tips for the English/Maths task

The English Writing task gave us a statement about resilience and why this is important in teaching (it is!) and we had to write about a time we have been resilient. They are basically just checking that you can write fluently and will give you targets based on grammar or handwriting etc. The Maths test was complied of very basic Maths questions to check you can work out, again, basic maths. They do get quite tricky at the end but nothing too hard to worry about just brush up on your times tables, multiplication and division methods etc. Don’t worry too much about this!

Group Activity

Don’t take too much control in the beginning, but if nobody else is talking definitely take the initiative. They did our group activities in groups of three and the girls I was with were lovely and we all had really nice ideas. The tip here would be to think outside the box, they are very random objects but don’t feel like anything is a stupid idea.

The 1:1 interview

This was not what I thought it would be. We were still in the room with the other tutors and prospective students so that was a lot more reassuring. The questions they asked me were along the lines of ‘Why do you want to be a teacher?’, ‘What is the most important thing about teaching’, ‘Why is it important to be professional?’ etc.

Any other questions about the process, feel free to comment below.

Amy

Interview Tips and Preparation for Primary Education with QTS

In all honesty, I was incredibly nervous about the interview for this course and I felt sick to my stomach all morning – but this was just nerves and it is completely normal. When I arrived, the staff and student guides were so friendly, reassuring and calm that it settled me down straight away.

How to prepare:

  • Brush up on your maths knowledge, in particular: addition and subtraction; multiplication and division; fractions, percentages and decimals; negative numbers; area and perimeter etc. Just the basic maths skills that you would cover in primary school. Have a look at the national curriculum.
  • Work on your handwriting – they may set you this as a target after the interview if it is not up to ‘teacher standard’
  • Look for random objects around your room/house/school – think about how you could use it as a resource in a lesson. Think outside of the box.
  • Be prepared to answer questions such as: Why do you want to be a teacher? What is the most important part of teaching? Why is it important to be professional? How can you differentiate lessons? etc.

Any questions about the interview, feel free to comment below.

Amy

How to prepare for Primary Education with QTS at Edge Hill

Illustration+-+Bunting+(Mint)

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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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,

Placement Magic

Hi everyone!

With my placement drawing to a close, I am starting to feel quite sad! 6 weeks have flown by and I only have 2 weeks left of teaching my year 4’s… but I hope to visit them again when they’re in year 5! So, here are some of the many reasons why professional practice is the best part of my Primary Education course:

1)The children

After teaching the same pupils every day for the past few weeks, I have gotten to know each and every individual – their personalities and unique quirks. One of the most worthwhile parts of teaching is watching a pupil understand a new concept or overcome an individual struggle within a certain aspect of work. Knowing I have helped to make a small difference puts it all into perspective. Not only is it amazing to help children learn, assisting with social or community events like a school disco, sports day or club allows children to simply let loose and have carefree fun – laughter and smiles are enough to make anyones day!

2) Developing yourself as a teacher

With every placement, comes new lessons learnt. I cannot begin to explain just how much I can take with me from just 6 weeks of professional practice. This is mostly down to the teachers, mentors and every adult who works there. Their guidance and support has been brilliant and inspires me to become as supportive as they are when I eventually have my own class!

3) The creative side

This professional practice has allowed me to recognise the opportunities for creativity in everything I teach. In Religious Education we recently made stained-glass windows for their topic of the church. In Literacy, the children have put themselves in the roles of Boudicca and Claudius for their Roman topic (also relating it to History). Overall, it has been wonderful to deliver these lessons and watch the children participate with enthusiasm.

Thank you for reading! Feel free to ask any questions if you’d like to know more about my second placement within Primary Education! Speak soon,

Anna 🙂

Lesson Planning

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend and you are feeling refreshed for the week ahead! My two weeks of placement so far has gone super fast, I can’t quite believe it! Since I should be planning my lessons right now… I thought I would procrastinate and tell you how I plan them! (hopefully this might help you teachers out there!).

  1. Understand children’s prior knowledge

I find that the most important thing is to find out what the children know, and what they want to find out. Questioning children at the beginning of the lesson is really helpful to get an idea of the extent of their understanding. Whether it’s more or less than expected, it makes it easier to adapt the lesson content when you teach it. Prior to the lesson, looking at previous lesson plans and written work / evidence of learning will allow you to be more specific in your planning.

  1. Use your feedback

Being a trainee teacher involves learning from mistakes and knowing what is effective to a child’s learning. By thinking about your feedback to your previous teaching, it will allow you to personally evaluate your teaching methods and approaches to improve for next time.

  1. Adapt to different needs

Always have a plan B. Consider the differentiated abilities within the classroom and plan for different learning styles – visual, auditory, kinaesthetic. Make sure you have extension tasks to challenge pupils in addition to considering the help from teaching assistants, children with special educational needs, and children with English as an additional language.

  1. Be Creative

Ensure you use varied teaching approaches with a variety of resources. Children can only concentrate on one thing for a certain amount of time – as for any adult! Engaging them with creative tasks will encourage the use of their imaginations and active learning.

  1. Have a read over the teachers’ standards

Familiarise yourself with the Teachers’ Standards to ensure every standard has been/will be met.

I hope these few ideas are useful to you, drop me a comment if you have any questions! Thanks for reading, have a good Monday!

Anna 🙂

Placements in Education – Tips!

Hello everybody! I hope you’re all having a lovely Easter (and Pesach)! In my first year, professional practice took place from the end of November to the beginning of February. Throughout this placement, it taught me a lot of things and made me realise how I can improve this year. You may feel nervous or overwhelmed when given all the information for your placement, but this is completely normal! I thought I would list some tips to help calm your nerves!

Introduce yourself to other teachers

No matter how nervous you may feel, once you talk to teachers at the school you will feel more comfortable I guarantee! They will be welcoming and are there to give advice!

Don’t be afraid of the staff room

Following on from this, you should not avoid the staff room! You are there to get to know the teachers, and they also want to get to know you.

Ask, ask, ask!

One of the most important aspects of placement is to ask questions. You are there to learn and improve your skills as a teacher, so it is important to ask your mentor any questions you can think of. For example, I feel I did not find out enough information about assessment on my last placement. So this time around, I know to question what types of assessment are used and how often they are implemented.

Get to know your school

In your first week, try to find out where everything is – which classroom is which, where the toilets are, where the head teacher’s office is etc. Throughout your time on practice, it is important to know where to take the children if you are asked to guide them to another place.

Go to staff meetings and events

Yes, these things may make your day longer… but when you have less planning to do one night, you should take advantage of every opportunity. It is important to observe the structure of meetings, to find out what types of preparation is necessary when teaching a class of your own. In addition to this, attending and helping out with school events will provide you with a varied and unique experience (as well as contributing to your Teachers’ Standards).

Be reflective

Professional practice isn’t going to be perfect… teachers expect your lessons to flop sometimes. But the important thing is to know how to pick yourself up and improve for next time. Analyse how your lesson went, make notes and talk to your class teacher/mentor about aspects of your teaching that went well and those aspects that didn’t.

Make the most of it

And finally…make the most of your experience there! Celebrate your achievements, learn from your mistakes, and remember every moment is leading up to teaching your own class one day!

Feel free to drop me a comment if you have anything you want to ask. Thanks for reading, have a good weekend and bank holiday!

Anna 🙂

Opportunities I’ve had this year

Being a Student Ambassador

In a post a few weeks ago, I talked about becoming and being a Student Guide. I’ve been a Student Guide for both of my years at uni and has been a big part of my experience, so I thought it deserved it’s own post. However, I also thought I’d talk a little bit about being a Student Ambassador too.

You have to be a Student Guide to become a Student Ambassador. You are also required to have an interview and write an application, that are completely separate to the Student Guide training and, as such, you also attend an extra day of training. As a Student Ambassador, we are paid a little more, to reflect the extra work we carry out, and the level of professionalism required of us. As a Student Guide, you will often be on shift on campus with one of the managers, who will guide you through the day. As a Student Ambassador, you are usually with only one other ambassador (this could be more or less, depending on the event) and are required to travel. This may be 15 minutes down the road, or it may require you to catch a plane; it really varies.

Student Ambassadors carry out very similar jobs to Student Guides, just off-campus. Obviously away from campus, you cannot give a tour, but you may be expected to give a talk or workshop. You may also be required to work on a stand, giving and receiving information to and from potential applications.

I love being an ambassador, as it means I get to speak to so many different people!

Being a Digital Leader

In January, after my trip to Bett (British Educational Training and Technology Show) in London, I spoke briefly about being a Digital Leader. It’s been a while, but I thought I’d expand upon what being a Digital Leader means to you and me.

So, I don’t know if any other courses have people like us, but the #DLEHU team (check us out on twitter) is specific to the Primary Education degree. We are a team of 12, all from different year groups, and we are guided by Senior Lecturer Sarah Wright, in order to make the best possible impact we can.

Our main goal this year has been to encourage lecturers to get more involved with our discussions on twitter; use different types of technology (and avoid powerpoint as much as possible). We still have more progress to make, but I’m more than confident for next year. I can’t tell you too much about our future plans right now, but we have a really exciting year ahead, that I know I’m looking forwards to.

Being a Student Representative

Now, I’ve used the umbrella term ‘Student Rep,’ because I was not only Group Representative this year, but also Year Group Representative. Think of the Group Reps like your School Councillor, who collect information from you to feedback during a meeting. This is similar to how we work, although instead of feeding back to a meeting, the Group Rep will send their feedback forms to the two Year Group Reps, who will then take it to a meeting, usually with the Year Head and some other members of the faculty. I’ve also had the pleasure to attend a Programmes Board meeting, which helped me to see what was happening to our feedback, and the changes that were being made as a result.

I hope that has given you some insight into some of the roles you may have the opportunity to take on at university. Until next time!

6 top tips for surviving placement

So, as my life is currently taken over by placement, here are 6 tips to keep in mind that will help your survive.

  1. Be willing to ask for advice.
    1. My behaviour management was one of my weakest areas last year on placement, partly because I refused to ask for advice. I walked into that placement, feeling confident that I knew what to do, but in all honesty, I didn’t have a clue. The worst part about it is that I thought asking for advice was a weakness. My mentor knew those kids better than I did! There was no shame in admitting I still had a lot left to learn.
  2. Be open to feedback.
    1. I have friends that hate receiving feedback from their mentors, but like I said before, we still have so much left to learn, and it really is in your best interests to listen to it – especially if they’re grading you!
  3. If there’s more than one EHU student on placement, support each other.
    1. A lot of trainees I know spend their first placement in particular, acting as if it’s a competition, but having that support and friendly face there can really combat your nerves and make you feel better when you’re having those bad days.
  4. Make sure you have at least one day off.
    1. Everyone needs some downtime and if you’re completely overwhelmed and stressed out, that means you’re not going to be efficient. Take some breaths, put on a movie, eat some ice cream or go for a walk and just chill.
  5. Talk to your friends / colleagues.
    1.  There are days when I really want to throw in the towel, because my lesson hasn’t gone as I’d planned, or someone was particularly disruptive, or I was just feeling generally overwhelmed. Firstly, I probably should’ve kept in mind that I was still training, and everyone makes mistakes when they’re training. However, without my course friends, I’d potentially continued to feel that way, but a gentle reminder that everyone has bad days can really ease the situation and help you to think with a clearer mind.
  6. Remember the biscuits for the staff room / your co-workers.

It’s worth it in the end

I won’t lie to you… second year has been incredibly tough for me, for a whole range of reasons. Now, it’s a Sunday evening and I’ve just finished my lesson planning for the following week; I’m busier on placement than I am in the entirety of the rest of my degree, yet it’s the best kind of busy. And being on placement reminds me why I’m here in the first place.

When a child asks you if you’ll be their class teacher forever; or you see another child, who doesn’t really respond much in lessons, get excited by a topic you’re teaching… the overwhelming sense of pride and love for this career is enough to put you through the stress of assignments ten times over. It’s enough that you don’t care that you’re up late planning, because if you get that one child to smile at something, to connect with something that you teach next week, it will have all been worth it.

My best kind of advice for all of you, is to find something that gives you a similar feeling. That may not be teaching; that may be seeing people respond positively to some media you’ve created, or at the very least to have felt like they related. It may be seeing kids get better and go home from hospital with their parents. It might be doing a particularly satisfying bit of maths or coming across a piece of research that will one day change the future.

In an entirely different context, Taylor Swift said, ‘If you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you’ll know it.’ Of course, this didn’t mean what I’m twisting it to mean when she originally said it, but I do think it can be applied here. If you love something so much, I 100% think you should study it, or make it your hobby, or whatever it is you decide to, because life is too short not to do things that YOU want to do.

And I know, as a result of my placement, that this is something I 100% love. Some of you may not know what it is you love, but that just means you get to spend more time trying new things to figure it out.