First day on placement…

Hello again 🙂

So today was my first day on my synoptic placement…

Even though this is the 3rd placement I have undertaken since starting at Edge Hill I was still full of nerves last night… What would the school be like? Would the kids be nice? Would I have supportive mentors?

When I arrived at the school at 8am this morning I realised that I had nothing at all to worry about! The school, the kids and the mentors all seem nice!

I started the day with meeting the science department and having a quick tour of the science rooms and staff rooms and was then straight into lessons. The first lesson of the day was maths (yes I’m a training to be a science teacher) but the science an maths departments work together as one faculty, so I sat observing a year 10 maths lesson.

Periods 2 & 3 were spent in the large hall of the school in a revision session put on for the whole of year 10 in preparation for their exam next week.

Period 4 I met with my professional mentor and discussed the expectations for the placement and what I hope to achieve by the end of my time at the school.

Period 5 I was in a year 9 science lesson where pupils were making models of everyday objects and describing how the use science and then going on to design a futuristic product that would use science.

Period 6 is for extra curricular activities and ends at 4.05 and staff are expected to stay until this time – so today I got a chance to chat with some of the other members of staff and get to know them a little bit.

All in all a good day – in looking forward to getting stuck in and doing some teaching!

I will try to write shorter more frequent blogs now I’m on placement, to give a more in depth idea of the life as a trainee teacher.

Thanks for reading

Jen 🙂

A new year…

Happy New Year!!!

I can’t believe how quickly the Christmas holidays have gone – probably because the only days I actually had a “holiday” were Christmas day, boxing day and new years eve, other than that I pretty much had my head in my books….

I should apologise for not writing my blog last week – I just got swept up in all of my revision, so I am sorry about that, but I will be writing two this week to make up for it!

I have two exams tomorrow… Environmental physiology and Ecological genetics, I know I have done more than enough revision over Christmas but I can’t help but feel nervous, so here I am it’s 23:18 and I have taken a break from my “last minute cramming session” to write my blog. As I cram I realise that I can actually already remember most of the stuff I’m reading – which is a comforting thought! So many key words buzzing around in my head “allopatric speciation”; “zeitgebers”; “euryhaline”; “stenotherm” and “ecotypic differentiation” just to name a few… tomorrow brings the end of my biology modules, they’ve been fun and I’ve learnt a lot!

I have two more exams on Thursday… Physics: concepts and models and Physics in action. Again I’ve done plenty of revision over Christmas but that doesn’t mean to say that tomorrow evening and all day Wednesday won’t be spent trying to cram those little extra bits of information into my brain! Thursday will be the last exam I will sit at Edge Hill University – I’m not going to lie, it can’t come quick enough! I’m not a fan of exams, I’d rather have a 5,000 word essay any day!

On Monday I start on my final placement as part of my course… I’m very excited and even bought myself a new “teacher” bag today in preparation! I can’t wait to get into school and get some more experience of lesson planning and being in a classroom in charge of a group of pupils…

I’m hoping to write my blog more often while I’m on placement, although I use Twitter to give a day to day update of life as a trainee teacher, sometimes 140 characters isn’t enough and I’d like to provide you with plenty of information about placement so you know what to expect when you (hopefully!) embark upon your teacher training at Edge Hill – so keep an eye out for that.

I would love to know what you would like to read about and would really appreciate any comments or Tweets to request specific blog topics!

That’s all for now – don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@Jen_EHU)

Thanks for reading!

Jen 🙂

Not long until Christmas…

Hello again,

It’s almost Christmas and most students at Edge Hill have gone home for the holidays. I arrived back in Stoke on Trent on Saturday and have spent the last couple of days recovering from a knee operation I had last Wednesday. I attempted to do some Christmas shopping in town, but it’s not one of the easiest things to do when town is really busy and you’re on crutches. Luckily I did most of my shopping before I had my op…

Now even though it is the “Christmas Holidays” I don’t feel like I’m going to get much of a break… I have 2 assignments to do and 4 exams to revise for, but I know that all of the hard work will be worth it when it comes to the exams and the assignment hand in.

After Christmas I’ve got a 55 day placement in a school back at home in Stoke on Trent – I’ll be teaching on a 70% timetable and will have another 2 assignments to write… then a few sessions back in University before the end of my time at University and graduation.

Now, whatever you are doing over Christmas, make sure you stay safe and enjoy yourself… If you have work to do, make sure you take a break and have a little time for yourself!

Just a short one for this week,

Until next time

Jen 🙂

How to succeed in an interview…

Hey guys 🙂

In my last blog I talked about completing your personal statement for your UCAS application… Today I’m going to talk about what happens next…

So… You have an interview for your course… First of all don’t panic, Universities aren’t trying to catch you out, they just want to make sure that you are an ideal candidate for the course and that you will be able to cope with the demands of your chosen course before making you an offer. Secondly… Prepare, prepare, prepare! If you are prepared for your interview, you will find it will be so much easier…

Preparation

There is lots you can do to make sure that you are fully prepared for the big day – from arranging mock interviews to arming yourself with information about the University and your chosen course.

Top Tips:

  • Make sure you know where you need to be and when you need to be there. Visit the University website for a map and directions. Don’t always rely on Sat-Nav to get you there – make sure you have a map as a back-up. If you need any more information about where on campus you need to be, contact the University
  • Remember that knowledge is power – Make sure you have read the prospectus and that you have looked at the University’s website. Make sure you know about the course you are applying for – it will make you seem keener during your interview. If there are things you would like to know that are not in the prospectus, make a list of questions you would like to ask.
  • Make sure that you are familiar with what you wrote in you application form – the interviewers will base their questions on the content of your application and will probably ask you about some of the things you have mentioned.
  • Be familiar with ‘hot topics’ in your subject area – you may be questioned about them. Interviewers commonly ask for your views on these areas. For teaching, a good place to keep up to date with hot topics is in the Times Educational Supplement, currently you can subscribe to the TES for just ÂŁ1 for 6 issues at http://www.tes.co.uk/publications.aspx?navcode=91
  • Remember that practice makes perfect. A mock interview is the best way to make sure you know exactly what you want to say and how you might answer certain questions. Ask a teacher or a careers adviser to run through a mock interview with you.
  • Try and relax – the night before try and get a good nights sleep, you won’t be at your best without one.

At the Interview

Interviews are always nerve-wracking, but try to remain calm and be yourself. Be enthusiastic and be sure to ‘sell’ yourself and what you have to offer

Interviewers are looking for students who show an interest, who can think independently and consider new ideas.

They are looking for students who will thrive well on their course and enjoy a varied academic life alongside their outside interests.

Top tips:

  • Dress appropriately – make sure you turn up looking smart, remember first impressions really do count!
  • Make sure you arrive on time, allow plenty of time to get there and make sure you have a contact number, just in case the worst happens and you get delayed on the way.
  • Be aware of your body language, make sure you are giving off the right signals, don’t slouch or yawn, sit up straight and look alert and enthusiastic
  • If you don’t understand a question ask for it to be repeated or rephrased… Also allow yourself some thinking time before diving in to answer a question… A good way to do this is by saying something along the lines of “That’s a good question…” then answer.
  • Expect the unexpected – while interviewers aren’t trying to trick you, some will want to see how you react under pressure. A surprise test or exercise isn’t unheard of so stay calm and think clearly.
  • Ask questions – Usually at the end of your interview, you will be asked if you have any questions. You will come across as enthusiastic if you ask appropriate questions. Use this opportunity to find out the answers to any questions that weren’t answered in the prospectus or on the website. If you are a have no questions to ask, you could say something like “You have already answered any questions that I had, thank you.”
Now it’s time to sit back and wait, you will either hear back from the University directly or you may hear back through the UCAS track system.

Nobody likes interviews, but with a bit of preparation, ‘selling yourself’ and showing knowledge and enthusiasm in your answers will become second nature, landing you a place on the higher education course that’s right for you.

Good luck with your applications and interviews!

Thanks for reading, don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter at @Jen_EHU

Jen 🙂

How to get classroom experience…

So you’re thinking of training to be a teacher? One of the main things that Universities look for among the thousands of applications they receive, are students with classroom experience…

Getting classroom experience isn’t always the easiest thing… but the following tips may help you to gain some invaluable practice based experience…

1.    Are you still at college or university? – Ask your careers service if they can help. Some have mentoring and classroom assistant schemes, but even if they don’t they might be able to put you in contact with schools in the local area interested in taking observations or volunteers.

2.    Do you know any teachers? – Do you have any friends or relatives who are teachers? Use any existing contacts you have and ask if they might be willing to take you in and observe lessons.

3.    Ask your old school – How long is it since you left school? If you are in touch with any of your old teachers or they might remember you then they might like to see that they have inspired a love for teaching in an ex-pupil!

4.    Ask your children’s school – Do you or your friends have children who are at school? You could approach the teacher and ask if they need helpers or volunteers.

5.    Be brave and ask. – If you don’t have any existing contacts then just ask! Look on Edubase for schools in your area and email or phone them to ask if you could come in and observe lessons. They will be used to getting requests so don’t worry about asking, but it might take time as it is popular.

6.    Be as flexible as you can. – It is not easy if you are studying or changing careers to find time to go into a school but you do need to be as flexible as possible. You might need to travel a little further than you wanted but if you can be as flexible as possible then you have more chance of being helpful to the school.

7.    Register with the TDA – If you want to teach a shortage subject including physics, chemistry, maths or modern foreign languages (MFL) you might be eligible for their School Experience Programme. They can help you get experience.

Personal Statement… Where to start?

Hello again… 🙂 After a couple of requests from some of you, today I’m going to write a little bit about personal statements… What are they for? What should you include? Ultimately your personal statement is your opportunity to tell Universities and Colleges why you are suitable for the course that you want to study. It is vital that you make the most of this opportunity and demonstrate your commitment, enthusiasm, and most importantly, ensure that you stand out from the hundreds of other applicants… Now I know this sounds like a huge, daunting task, but if you break it down and use the following hints and tips, you’ll find that it’s actually not so bad! Okay, so a little bit about what to include… Writing about the course You need to answer two main questions here:

  • Why are you applying to this particular course? Here, you need to talk about why the subject interests you, try and include evidence that you understand what is required when studying the specific course.
  • Why are you suitable for the course? This is your chance to tell the Universities what skills and experience you have that will help you to succeed on the course.
Other questions to consider:
  • How do your current or previous studies relate to your chosen course?
  • What experience do you have that demonstrates your interest in the course?
  • Why do you want to go to University?
Skills and Achievements

Universities want to know if you have any accredited or non-accredited achievements and skills. These can include, CREST awards; Diploma of Achievement; Duke of Edinburgh Award; Young Enterprise. You can also mention positions of responsibility that you have held both in and out of school, e.g. school prefect and any other achievements that you are proud of, eg reaching grade 3 piano or being selected for the county netball team.

Hobbies and Interests

It is important to tell the Universities about your hobbies and interests but you need to think about how these demonstrate your skills and abilities. For example, rather than simply stating “I enjoy playing netball”, talk about how it had developed your skills as a team player, how it demonstrates your ability to cope with pressure and that you show the ability to mix with a range of different people

Work Experience

This is your chance to talk about any jobs, placements, work experience or voluntary work, especially if its relevant to your chosen course. Try to link these experiences to the skills and qualities mentioned in the Course Entry Profile…

A few do’s and don’ts when writing your personal statement

  • Do create a list of your ideas before attempting to write the real thing.
  • Do expect to produce several drafts before being totally happy.
  • Do ask people you trust for their feedback.
  • Do check university and college prospectuses, websites and Entry Profiles, as they usually tell you the criteria and qualities that they want their students to demonstrate.
  • Do use your best English/Welsh and don’t let spelling and grammatical errors spoil your statement.
  • Do be enthusiastic – if you show your interest in the course, it may help you get a place.
  • Don’t feel that you need to use elaborate language. If you try too hard to impress with long words that you are not confident using, the focus of your writing may be lost.
  • Don’t say too much about things that are not relevant – if you think that you are starting to, take a break and come back to your statement when you feel more focused.
  • Don’t lie – if you exaggerate you may get caught out at interview when asked to elaborate on an interesting achievement.
  • Don’t rely on a spellchecker as it will not pick up everything – proof read as many times as possible.
  • Don’t leave it to the last minute – your statement will seem rushed and important information could be left out.
  • Don’t expect to be able to write your personal statement whilst watching TV or surfing the internet – this is your future, so make the most of the opportunity to succeed.

I know this guidance isn’t extensive, but hopefully it will be a starting point for some of you looking to apply to University… If you have any questions about writing your personal statement feel free to post them below and I will get back to you, or as usual you can ask me on Twitter at @Jen_EHU Good luck with your applications! If there are any other topics you would like me to cover over the coming blog posts, let me know and I will do my best to include them… Thanks for reading Jen 🙂

Science in Pictures…

Okay, so I promised to upload some pictures of some of the things I have been doing since we started back at Uni in September… Please be aware if you are squeamish these pictures might not be for you…

This picture is showing a worm dissection… we did this to take a look at it’s blood vessel system.

In our next lesson we dissected a heart… The picture above is what we started with and the picture below is after we had cut into the heart and can see the chambers, vessels and valves.

We followed this by dissecting a lung… You can see that we are just in the process of cutting into the lung to take a closer look at the structures that lie within…

The next dissection that we did in our physiology lesson was a fish head…

 

 

 

 

We then removed the eye of the fish and proceeded to dissect that too…

Hope these pictures weren’t too disturbing and that you may have even found them interesting! I will upload more as we do them!

Don’t forget that you can follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/Jen_EHU

Thanks for reading…

Jen 🙂

 

 

Why Teaching?

Why did I become a teacher? I’m guessing that many teachers ask themselves this question on a regular basis. There may be days when a teacher is so overwhelmed by the task in front of her, that she asks herself “What on Earth am I doing?” Teaching is, without doubt, a challenging profession, and one which in order to do it well, you must have a passion for. Teaching has to be something that you love to do. If not, the negative effects can be extremely long lasting, for both you and your students.

Have I always wanted to be a teacher? Yes and no is my answer to this question. Since a young age I have always “played school” taking on the role as teacher, but I also was very interested in becoming a dentist. Then I got involved in netball coaching at the age of about 14 and was sure that teaching others was what I wanted to do, and knew that I would teach either Science or Physical Education. My year 11 work experience was in a high school, and I think it was this experience that made me realise that teaching was the profession for me. Through college there were moments where I had other career paths in mind, but then I began to study psychology for the first time, and absolutely loved it and thought that I wanted to become a psychologist in a prison.

With this new career path in mind I went to University to study psychology, and although the course was very enjoyable, it just didn’t feel right; I couldn’t get the idea of being a teacher out of my head… Now I’m sure you’ve all heard the cliché “If you can’t get something out of your head, maybe it’s supposed to be there.” Well I took this on board and after two years on my psychology degree I decided that teaching was 100% for me, so I began to look for Universities that could offer me the course that I wanted, and that’s when I came across Edge Hill University and it sounded perfect to me, so I ended my degree at my first University and set along a new path at Edge Hill….

I began to volunteer at a local school on the run up to the start of my course, and that’s when I noticed the positive effect that I could have on a child’s life. I began to notice that I could encourage even the most challenging of pupils to complete work by introducing interesting and exciting ways to get them to think about what they were doing. I’ve had two placements for my course now too, and it’s amazing watching the kids grow and become confident learners.

If I had to pick my favourite thing about being a teacher, it would definitely be those “light bulb” moments, when you have explained something to the pupil and you can see that they understand it.

Now, I can’t wait to qualify as a teacher and have my own classroom and classes, but does my enthusiasm and passion for becoming a teacher mean that all of my students will always like me? No. Will every day be a brilliant success? Definitely not. However, I know that during my time as a teacher I will have a massive impact on students’ lives and will have influenced my pupils in a positive way.

If you are interested in teaching in a secondary school, Edge Hill are running a Three Day ‘Taster’ Course for Secondary Teaching. This is a chance to experience a career in secondary teaching before making a decision. You will be able to talk to practising teacher, spend a day observing lessons, receive advice from the school’s training team and discover the best route into teaching for you. If you are interested or would like more information follow the link http://www.edgehill.ac.uk/careers/TeachingZone/TrainingTeach.htm

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter to keep up to date with life as a trainee teacher at https://twitter.com/#!/jen_ehu

Something to think about…

“If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher’s job.”  ~Donald D. Quinn

 

 

My First Blog…

My first blog…

I guess I’d better start by introducing myself. My name is Jen Eardley, I’m 22 and I’m from Stoke-on-Trent. I’m currently studying on a Science Secondary Education with QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) course at Edge Hill.

I’ve just started my third year and even though we’ve only been back for a few weeks it honestly feels like we’ve never been away. It’s a scary thought that there are only 58 days until Christmas, then I have a 55 day placement and ultimately I have finished my journey on the QTS course and will be ready to become a fully-fledged teacher! It’s a scary but exciting thought.

This year is a really heavy and hard-going year, but I know it will be worth it in the end. I have 7 modules in the first semester and these are: Ecological genetics; Environmental physiology; Physics in action; Physics concepts and models; Personal and professional development and Research Methods.

The research methods module is where we get support for our dissertation. Mydissertation title is “Pupils’ attitudes towards their science lessons” and hopefully throughout my dissertation I will establish the extent to which pupils enjoy science; pupils’ perception on the importance of science; pupils’ views about how difficult it is to learn science and pupils’ attitudes towards practical activities in their science lessons. Sounds like a lot but I have devised a questionnaire including questions that give insights into all of my research questions.

Along with all of our subject sessions we have a placement on each year of our course. Last year on my placement I went over to the Isle of Man for 9 weeks and joined the science department in one of the high schools; it was one of the best experiences of my life and I would definitely consider a career over then when I graduate. However this year on placement I’m hoping to get a school a little closer to home, so that when it comes to my NQT year if I get offered a job in my placement school I will be close to my family and will be able to stay with my mum and dad until I save enough money for a deposit on a house.

Okay, so I think I’ve talked enough for one week. Please do follow my blogs, I will try to write them as often as I can! I have a Twitter account @Jen_EHUwhere you can keep up to date on what I am doing and how life as a trainee teacher on a QTS course is. Please follow me and feel free to ask me any questions.

Jen 🙂