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Post-compulsory Geography in-service training

Discussion in 'Geography' started by ClaireLaing, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. Hello,
    A month ago I started working as a trainee Geography teacher in a large sixth form college in London. My contract is for 2 years and my employer is funding my part time post compulsroy PGCE at the Institute of Education. It seemed like a fantastic opportunity....however myself and a fellow trainee are the only Geography teachers in the college and therefore we are responsible for the whole AS and A2 levels, including UCAS references, marking exam papers, conducting fieldwork, writing reports etc. All brilliant experience, but we are really feeling the lack of having a Geography teacher to consult with/share ideas/observe lessons etc!
    I was just wondering whether anyone on here has heard of this kind of arrangement before. The department 'needs improving' according to the latest Ofsted report....seems like a big risk to me to employ 2 trainees to bring a department up...? At the moment I am really struggling. My mentor is amazing and goes out of her way to help, but I am longing for subject specific advice and feeling like I'm part of a department. I'm concerned that I'm floundering to the point that it's hindering my learning (not to mention the learning of our students, many of whom wish to do Geography at university, which only adds to the pressure to succeed for my collegaue and I)
    Any advice/thoughts on this matter would be much appreciated.

    Thank you!

  2. dhartley25

    dhartley25 New commenter

    Hi Claire
    To be honest I have not heard of this before and it seems suprising they would do this for a department that has been highlighted for improvement in an Ofsted report. I'm guessing the thinking is for both of you to eventually become the new Geography department at the college and they are risking training you up first and using another experienced member as an overlooking coaching role. Not fair maybe but a low risk and low cost choice.
    Now here is what I would do when you both meet next time:
    1) Firstly, make a list of jobs that need doing in the department - Schemes of Work, stationery, UCAS exam entries etc. Allocate the jobs between you and put a deadline on them. Remember some jobs may seem important, i.e. writing a dep handbook, but you need to be realsitic and concentrate on the core elements of the department - the syllabus.
    2) Ensure you have a topic/course overview for the AS/A2 course you teach - this could simply be a list of lessons and coursework dates.
    3) Then split the lesson planning between you sharing the topics. This way the time spent preparing is halved.
    4) With regards Admin, find out when exam entries have to be in and one of you could be in charge of this part of the department. Have you got enough textbooks, paper, whiteboard pens etc?
    5) Now you can teach the course and slowly get to grips with other jobs that come in.
    My other key advice would be to take whatever you produce - SOW, admin etc to your mentor to sign off. Considering your position, this should be what the college is expecting.
    Good luck and remember to start with the key element - the course - and then begin to tackle other parts. Also sharing jobs will give you experience and halve your workload. But never feel like your sinking because you have been put in a very delicate positIon by them so ensure they help and check everything.
    Also search this site for SOW and lessons to help you with planning.
    Let me know if you need anything else and email me if needed.
    Dan Hartley
    TES Subject Advisor for Geography and History
  3. jenfer07

    jenfer07 New commenter

    Sounds tough-I was working in a similar situation last year but the school had no sixth form luckily.
    Find out if it is possible to have a geography Advanced Skills Teacher bought in once a week to help you.
    Look into which A level specs other local schools do and see if you can track down a recently qualified teacher who can swap resources with you.
    Don't put too much pressure on yourself to get everything right in your first year!
  4. Thank you all for your advice :)
  5. Hi Claire
    If you wish you could e mail me at the Geographical Association jlyon@geography.org.uk or phone 0114 2960088 for some advice. We have members who would be happy to share resources and ideas freely and I hope I could put you in touch with someone. We also have a consultants list if your school wanted to buy in support. There are Nings set up by exam boards where you might find lesson ideas, advice on assessment and things like that to make your life a little easier. Also the GA does publish some very good (well I would say that, but it is) material for teachers in our Top Spec series and Geography matters material which is produced by our Post16 and HE group. Geography Matters is free from the website http://geography.org.uk/11-19/post16andhe/ The Field Studies Council produce excellent fieldwork materials and also offer good sixth form courses, as of course do other centres such as Cranedale. You do seem to be short on adequate support, they obviously think you are very capabale.Anyway, there's more to tell you about than I can fit on here, so feel free to explore the GA website or simply call.
  6. Hi John, thank you, that's brilliant information! Unfortunately I have made the decision to leave the college and begin a full time PGCE next year insted. At half term I was reflecting on how far I'd come and just felt that I wasn't learning and if anything was picking up very bad habits as I tried to muddle through. My last day was yesterday but it hasn't put me off teaching and I'm so excited to start again! However, my trainee colleague is still there, so I will pass the information onto him!

    Very much appreciated, thank you!


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