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Starting Science PGCE in September!

Discussion in 'Science' started by suzie07, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. Hi,
    Im starting a secondary science pgce in september at edge hill university, just wanted to see if there was anyone else out there starting in september? Also any tips to prepare myself? Im currently brushing up on my chemistry subject knowledge, but i want to be as prepared as possible so any advice is more than welcome!
    Thanks Suzie
  2. Until you start in September relax and enjoy your time off!!! [​IMG]
  3. jsl1901

    jsl1901 New commenter

    I am starting the PGCE in sept. but at Uni of Notts.
    Specialising in Biology. Ive got CGP GCSE revision guides for biology/chem/physics. £10 each, but Waterstones do all 3 for £21. Pretty good...i remember them helping me when i was at school.
    I wouldnt stress about it too much. relax now, its a pretty tough course. all the info will come flooding back anyway. i was suprised how much i remembered.
  4. I wouldn't do any prep before September - just enjoy your holidays. However, i would steer clear of buying books and revision guides. The university and your placement schools will have all the books you need
  5. Dont buy books! Even the course books are not strictly necessary, having just finished my PGCE at nottingham university I can hoenstly say you wont open them after the first two weeks.
    If I may recommend anything its "getting the ******* to behave" Not all the insights are practical with some children but its a great read, and it gets you thinking about your classroom management techniques. With the same in mind I also recommend "dont shoot the dog".
    Relax and enjoy your holidays, preparing too far in advance doesnt really do you any good, inevitably your placement schools will have vastly different schemes of work, you will have seasoned teachers on hand to help you and it will be a case of practicing the practicals you want the kids to do and reading up the scheme of work and relevant section of the revision guide as you do your lesson planning so its fresh in your head.
    The PGCE is incredibly hard, between a 2/3 teaching timetable, plus looking for a job, plus writing assignments you will be rushed off your feet (although hopefully having fun at the same time) so make the most of being able to relax now.
  6. Don't worry about anything at the moment, as the others say, relax. Get to know your course mates quickly as they are a great source of support whilst you are out on placement. Work with each other where you can for resources. When you start your placements also don't worry too much, it all comes with some hard work and support from mentors and collegues.
  7. You'll enjoy it! Relax, enjoy your holiday and then get stuck in. Definitely don't buy any textbooks/ revision guides, schools have them coming out their ears. You could look at books like Physcis for the Non-Specialist but there is really nothing better than an experience teacher to talk to.
    all the best
  8. I'm starting a secondary science PGCE in sept at Nottingham Trent, my specalaism is Physics, I am really looking forward to it, we had ahuge reading list but I just got a selection of the essential books.
    Did any of you get a pre-course assignment and tasks? we had an essay and a couple of tasks to do, got those out the way and just relaxing before the course starts.
    I think the idea of working to gether on resources is a good ideam you can get soem great ideas from each other and it coudl be really useful if its for a non specilaism subject. Has anyone thought of havign study buddies either at the same or a different uni, that could be useful if anyone is interested, i'd be happy to give it a go
  9. I did the PGCE last year, just starting my NQT now, and I'd second everyone's advice to just enjoy your free time and relax! But I do remember what it's like just wanting to get stuck in though!
    I'd second the recommendation of reading Getting The ******* To Behave, it's a fantastic book. Also maybe watch a bit of Teachers TV, I find that really useful (particularly the behaviour management stuff done by Sue Cowley and the From Good To Outstanding programs). But probably the best thing you can do is get your work area set up at home, wherever that will be, and get ringbinders (Portfolio, Teaching File, Uni Notes) and stationary to get yourself organised and ready to go.
    I think brushing up your subject knowledge is a great idea (I didn't before I started the course and wish I had, especially the Physics!) but don't stress over it too much - just from observing lessons you'll pick up loads, and once you're in a classroom you'll probably be amazed at how much comes flooding back that you thought you'd forgotten.
    Best of luck for next year :) I'm sure you'll be fab!
  10. Hi misscoles!
    We had a little pre course work to do a knowledge audit - hence the brushing up on the chemistry and familiarising ourselves with the National Curriculum. I start on monday - ARGH! just enjoying my last few days of freedom!
    My specialism is Biology, and i think study buddies is definately a good idea - especially with different specialities to help one another out!
  11. Hi Suzie,
    My specialism is physics and im not oo bad at chemstry either they link fair bit so if you want any help or advice shout up, yes i think the idea of helping with different specialisms is a great idea and then there is the possibilty of sharing resources too! [​IMG]
    We had the same a general just look through the speicficatio n and revision guide plus and eps essay but they are alo ut of the way now, not long to go before it all starts now.
  12. that should say specification..oops
  13. I'm starting Science/Physics PGCert at Brunel next week.
    They sent me a letter in mid-July to ask me to arrange one week of primary school observation prior to the start of uni term (all students are to do this, as part of the course). Naturally, I've only had polite rejection letters from those which had staff in over the summer break. I'm sure I won't be the only one without this observation set-up, given the late notification. [​IMG]
    I'm a bit of a bibliophile so I have, contrary to the above advice, bought most of the reading list. I've bought mine second hand, or joined the Association for Science Education to get discount on their publications.
    In terms of brushing up on subject knowledge, I've found the BBC Bitesize GCSE podcasts by the Naked Scientists to be very handy. I downloaded the whole lot and bunged them on my MP3 player for long trips north! (and the Naked Scientists' own website has many general interest science podcasts). I've also found Teachers TV and their website quite handy for improving my understanding of teaching a little more, too.
    I just can't wait to get stuck in.
  14. First ever post!!

    I'm also starting my PGCE on Sept 14th and only secured the place a few weeks ago. They've asked me to do a weeks work experience, a 1000 word essay and complete 7 activities based on my Work experience.......that would all be fine if I could get anyone to let me do work experience in the first week back!
    I've tried to call and email my uni but noone will reply.

    Not quite sure what to do!! what are you going to - have you spoken to your uni yet?
    Min x
  15. Which Uni are you at?
    Mine said that any students who had not managed to arrange a one week placement should let them know at registration on Monday (ie after we're supposed to have done this). Given this I guess it's not a major problem and one they are confident in sorting out.
    But I do feel let down in only being told mid-July, four months after getting my offer. I queried it a bit more at the time and they sent out an information pack to all of us on the course after that - so it seems a bit disorganised.[​IMG]
    Still, now I can spen all week buying stationery. [​IMG]

  16. <font size="2">Hi,</font><font size="2"> </font><font size="2">Buy post-it's! Then buy more Post-it's! Then buy a few more, just in case.</font><font size="2"> </font> <font size="2">Use them to annotate every thing and note down / nick good ideas. They can then be transferred to a file / note book without any real effort. I sort them into subject areas (using the national curriculum headings) e.g. Forces, electricity & magnetism, space etc. rather than by year group. This makes things easier to find and makes differentiation much easier. (By the way you will learn to dread the D word &ndash; but it&rsquo;s not as difficult as it sounds if you are open minded.) Remember something that worked well with a bright year 7 group may also be appropriate to bottom set year 10 &ndash; if you file by topic you will find all the available resources not just the one someone else felt appropriate for a specific group. DON'T rewrite just stick 'em in.</font>
    <font size="2"> </font><font size="2">2nd point &ndash; nick copies of resources and file carefully for future ref (I&rsquo;ve have stuff form years ago that I&rsquo;m now suddenly finding a use for). You are expected to do this! it&rsquo;s actually a complement to the teacher you are stealing off &ndash; however it is polite to ask. Use your post-it&rsquo;s to note where they came from / additional info (such as group used with / ability / how it went and most important how long it took)</font><font size="2"> </font><font size="2">3rd &ndash; when you do lesson observations note timings, they are really difficult to get right and impossible to guess. So get a head start by at least knowing roughly how long it took bottom set year 7 to light a Bunsen compared to set 1 etc. You could put this on your post-it!</font><font size="2"> </font><font size="2">Good luck</font><font size="2"> </font><font size="2">Gill</font><font size="2"> </font>Ps. The MOST IMPORTANT thing to do once you&rsquo;re in a school is to learn the names of the lab techs. They will bail you out more often than you care to admit, but upset them at your peril &ndash; you might get exactly what you asked for rather that what you really needed. They were the key to the smooth running of every department I&rsquo;ve every worked in. Good ones make your life so much easier, but only if you follow their advice!
  17. Brilliant comments from Gill, especially about looking after your technicians. Always get your requisitions in on time: this means that when your tutor arrives for a last-minute observation, they will pull out all the stops for you.

    Also invest in a big capacity memory stick/external drive for all those liberated resources, I use 160 GB now (&pound;40 or so very well spent), and use Synctoy from microsoft (free) to create an easy to update copy on your home computer (just in case you lose the stick!).
  18. Thanks for your tips, Gill and Romancandle.

  19. Hi Suzie!
    I've just finished my PGCE at edge hill (also science) on the flexible route. Am willing to lend an ear if required (or shoulder to cry on). My specialism is also Biology.
  20. I agree with Romancandle. A memory stick or two is a must. My laptop was full very quickly. I now use an external hard disk drive and take memory sticks into school.
    Have a look at the national curriculum and any schemes of work for key stage 3/4/5. This will give you an idea of what topics you may teach. Maybe have a browse at the resources on the TES.
    Now is also a good time to search for and bookmark science websites. Some people have put some links on here to some of them.
    Download templates for who wants to be a millionaire, blockbusters, bingo etc. and find a decent site that makes word searches and crosswords.
    Basically try and blag and find as many free resources as possible and organise them so that they are easy to find, this will save you time when you are busy planning.
    If you see a laminator in the sales, buy it!! You may find that the technicians are very protective about their laminators and won't let you use them unless its 'vital'!!
    I made myself a book (pukka sell A5 ringbound notepads with dividers in) with 'Biology', 'Physics', 'Chemistry' and 'General Teaching' sections in. I use this to stick in any ideas from the TES magazine, any ideas I observe, ideas and advice people tell you in passing and so on. Very handy. Mine is full of demos that people did when i was in uni that weren't put on the VLE but I quickly scribbled down.
    Buy a stash of pens. Both schools that I was at the pupils seemed to have an inability to bring pens, pencils, rulers etc. I would lend out pens in exchange for pupils planners (more likely to get them back). Don't buy really cheap, economy type ones. Pupils will complain that they are '****' or they will leak in your bag!!
    Research free car parks near to uni!!
    Buy some comfy shoes for placement. I like to wear heals so I am taller than the year 11s and after 6 weeks of wearing flipflops my feet are killing me!!!
    I think that's all for now [​IMG] x


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