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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Information and Preparation for a Regional Teaching Placement 👩🏽‍🏫📚

I’m not sure which other courses require you to go on placement but I know that for trainee teachers and trainee nurses it is compulsory. In your first year as a trainee teacher, placement is seven weeks. Last year it started in November, but this year we start in January. I think I would have preferred to get stuck straight in at the deep end, but I do feel more prepared now than I would have at the start of the year.

On the Primary Education with QTS course, you are allocated to a school by the university. You do have some say in this and they will do their best to accommodate you where you want to be placed. For me, I took a regional opportunity. This means I am moving away from home and from University to go and do my placement in the Peak District 🏔. The other choices were Cumbria and Barrow-in-Furness, but these may change. The University places you in accommodation that is paid for and any travel expenses are reimbursed. It’s a great opportunity and if you end up at Edge Hill and on this course, I can’t recommend it enough.

Image result for edge hill teaching

I travel down on Saturday and I’m going to a very small sample school. I’m going to be co-teaching a KS1/2 combined class, which is something I hadn’t ever heard of before starting University. Whether you are staying on campus, moving home or moving to a regional place, prepping can seem daunting and it can feel nerve wracking if you’ve never taught before. 👩🏽‍🏫

You find out your school and year group, sometimes it can be just a Key Stage. You email the school and introduce yourself, hopefully, they give you lots of information that you can use to prepare. I’ve spent my time looking through the Year 2 and 3 curriculum and researching strategies for teaching combined classes. 🏫

A great thing about this course is we have people called SAMs (Student Academic Mentors), these are second and third-year students who are available to email or tweet and will answer any queries we have. I asked them for some advice on teaching combined classes and my Twitter direct message box was full of advice from students. 📫

I’ve done all I can to best prepare, I think. This profession is definitely about learning on the job and learning through experience so the first week will be observing the teacher and getting to know the class, the routine and the planning. I’ve got a notebook and pen at the ready and I’m so keen to get started. 📝

Please feel free to ask any questions about placements and I’ll do my best to answer! Thanks for reading ☺️

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My first term at University 👩‍🎓📚

Hello!

It’s very strange to think that I’ve been at University for thirteen weeks now. Time really does fly when you’re having fun. We broke up the Friday just gone, I don’t think it’s the same for everyone but the Primary Ed guys have all finished for the year. My parents flew back from Saudi and came to pick me up from University, we’re having Christmas at their UK house this year! Of course, I over packed. We have an assignment due over Christmas and lots to do before placement in January so I feel like I’ve packed the entirety of my uni work.

If you’re a prospective Primary Ed student then this post is for you. This post is a little insight into how the first term went in my first year and what I’m doing over Christmas to plan for next term.

The seminars, lectures and the workload👩🏽‍🎓:

The timetables change each year so what my timetable looks like this year may well be different to yours but this will give you a gist of what an average week looks like. Firstly, we have Mondays off – I know, it’s the best. Then we have our Minor seminar for 2 hours on Tuesday, Foundation Subjects seminar for 3 hours on Wednesday (sometimes with a FS lecture after), Thursday and Friday are the longest days with English, Maths, Science, Computing and APD seminars mixed in.  It’s a nice balanced timetable that gives you a long weekend to chill and spend some time socialising but then also gives you a lot of time to get some work done.

The workload is manageable but challenging. As long as you organise and manage your time well and do your best not to miss any seminars or lectures you’ll be fine. I’ve really enjoyed my first term and I’ve managed to pull myself to seminars when I was exhausted and just didn’t want to get out of bed, but I always did because they’re always so fun and engaging. I’m not in university now until placement and I know I’m going to miss it! ☹️

The assignments📝📚:

I’ve handed in three so far. The next one is a whopping 3,500 on APD that’s due in January. This scared me to start with but the my biggest tip for you is to get in the library! They have so many books available and I managed to get a load before I came back so I’ve been reading through them and I feel a lot more prepared and ready to knock this out over the Christmas period. They vary from 750 words to 3,500 words and they’re all set in a different kind of style which I love. They are challenging but not at all impossible, they also make me feel very intellectual and academic 🤓!

Placement 👩🏽‍🏫:

Out first placement starts in January, last year it started in November so yours could be a different time too. I just recently found out where I’m going for mine this year and I’m really excited. I took a regional opportunity and I’m heading down to the Peak District. With the situation I’m in I honestly didn’t care where I went but my heart felt this was the right place and luckily I got it. They can’t always guarantee you what and where you want but they do their best!

So over the Christmas period, as you can see, I have some work to do. They encourage you not to work over the two weeks the University is closed for, and I’m sure some people will, but if you’re like me and you want to be as prepared as possible, I’m sure your desk will look like mine!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading! See you next time 💕

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So, what do you learn as a trainee teacher?

Monday

  • Science (2-4)
  • Computing (4-6)

A lot of the Science we do is incredibly practical. One of the key things in the National Curriculum at the moment is ‘Working Scientifically’ which includes all of the skills that you use when you carry out an investigation. This can be anything from observing to measuring to evaluating, so we make sure that we know how to cover these topics. Within this, we cover both the subject knowledge (the WHAT we teach) and the pedagogy (the HOW we teach).

Computing is a relatively new subject in the curriculum, having been brought in during the changes in 2014. Last year, we covered why the changes were made and what they were, and got to grips with the software and equipment we would be using to teach.

Wednesday

  • The foundation subjects – Art, DT, History, Geography, PE, RE, Languages etc (9-12)

The foundation subjects varied each week, so we spent 3 hours on a different subject. This tiny glimmer into each subject is nowhere near enough knowledge to help us go out and teach it, which is why we are given independent time to do more work and strengthen our subject knowledge, but it gave us a starting point to help us in those weaker subject areas.

Thursday

  • Maths (9-11)
  • Academic Professional Development (APD) Lecture (12-1)
  • English (2-4)
  • APD (4-6)
  • Optional session: Technology Enhanced Learning (Tel) (6-8)

Our tutor for Maths last year worked in a Year 6 class one day a week, much like many of the tutors here at Edge Hill, so the experience she brought to our sessions was fresh and relevant. We worked with lots of different materials, learning how best to break down some of the most basic Mathematics principles for early years children, and how these would help for children still struggling later on in their schooling.

In English, a lot of our work was discussion-led, talking about different ways we would introduce work to children. Sometimes we would read a story and then put this into our reading journal. We used a lot of stimuli and story prompts, which then helped us to create our own class story, about a mermaid.

APD touches upon the important topics we wouldn’t necessarily cover otherwise, such as behaviour management, learning theories and children with SEND and/or English as an additional language (EAL).

Friday

  • Minor Specialism: Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) (3-5)

For your minor, you get to pick from the foundation subjects, EAL, SEND and the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). In SEND, we covered different learning styles and how to adapt to these in more depth, and were offered the opportunity to attend an Autism Drama workshop carried out by some 3rd year dissertation students, who were on the spectrum. This was incredibly useful.

So there you have it! A lot of people might tell you that we spend our time playing, or colouring in as Amber mentioned in an earlier post, but all of what we do is to help us prepare for teaching. It is proven that most children learn better kinaesthetically, which is why we get to do so much fun stuff!

A week in the life of a First Year Primary Ed student

So, I’m now a second year, but for this blog post, I’m going to cast my mind back to my first year here at Edge Hill, to help you guys understand what my life was like as a fresher.

Monday

  • Science (2-4)
  • Computing (4-6)

I would usually spend my Monday mornings doing any recommended reading for sessions, or anything that I thought would be particularly useful for my assignments. At the start of the year, we had a session on how to read most efficiently, which really helped me get the most from my books, and plan my assignments during this time.

Tuesday

  • Independent Study

Tuesdays were the days I generally spent flitting from one task to another. It was a long time to stay focused on one thing, so I generally planned my day out by what I wanted to achieve and went from there. If I had an assignment due that I knew I needed to write, sometimes that meant switching up my environment; I’d spent the morning in the library with the books, and then come back to halls in the afternoon when I got hungry. After a quick lunch break, I’d be back writing again. Other days were split up into smaller tasks, and often these were easier to stay focused on. It’s about picking a strategy that works best for you.

Last year, Tuesdays were also the day that Strangled Cats Karaoke was on, so my friends and I used to blow off some steam by going along to that. We never got up to sing, but the atmosphere was always a cheerful one. This now runs on a Monday.

Wednesday

  • The foundation subjects – Art, DT, History, Geography, PE, RE, etc (9-12)

My Wednesday afternoons were usually spent with my housemates. Some weeks, this meant a trip to Liverpool or a spot of lunch. Every week, we would do some kind of work together though, which was usually sorting out our files and targets, which are assessed at various points in the year, and in the last few weeks.

Thursday

  • Maths (9-11)
  • Academic Professional Development (APD) Lecture (12-1)
  • English (2-4)
  • APD (4-6)
  • Optional session: Technology Enhanced Learning (Tel) (6-8)

Friday

  • Minor Specialism: Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) (3-5)

Sometimes I’d get to go home on a Friday! This meant that I’d spend my morning packing and tidying. If I wasn’t going home, I often spent Friday mornings going to buy food, or doing laundry – all the fun domestic things you get to do when you come to university!

I made sure to have at least one day at the weekend off to spend with my friends. As hectic as uni life can sometimes be, it’s important that you’re not getting too stressed, and enjoying yourself too.