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teacher training advice - organization tips/tricks/ideas

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by pinkpaperprincess, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. subowie

    subowie New commenter

    p.s. dont spend your free time at the school drinking coffee and chatting in the staff room!! get some work done there - every hour there is an hour less you need to work at home.
     
    freckle9 likes this.
  2. Finished my PGCE in secondary last June and have just completed my first term NQT and my best tips, tricks and so forth are:
    - Create a strong relationship with mentors and your uni tutor, the last being especially useful! And be upfront, honest and completely level with them. This way if your behind on something they will understand e.g. after teaching a lesson tell you mentor how long it took you to plan - they may give you ways of speeding up/ resources etc I can still email my tutor now and will probably be used as a mentor sometime (id really like that!)

    -PRIORITISE
    That word saved me about a million hours. Not all uni essays are important, figure out which ones are. On my course we had 2 at masters level and the rest we just needed to pass. You want to impress your tutor, right get fabulous marks on the masters ones (these count more) and pass the others, if you have time try and outdo yourself on them but not at the cost of not spending time with your kids, cleaning the house, seeing friends etc

    Dont re-invent the wheel - that lesson your planning on Euthanasia? Already planned by your mentor - its good practice to share resources with students, they dont have to but I dont feel that they are fulfilling their proffessional duty towards you. What I tended to do was take the lesson my mentor would ahve taught and put my own spin on it, re-arrange or create some new resources. They are looking at how your 'in front of the balckboard' just as much as how you plan a lesson so being tired becasue you were up untill 3am planning wont make you good and the 'in front of the blackboard bit' you will be too tired. Some of my best lessons are slightly underplanned becasue we are working with some of the most volitile substances going - children and young people - you cant plan for EVERYTHING! SO DONT BOTHER TRYING!

    I never bothered making posh to do list - a wall covered with post-its - one colour for must be done yesterday, one for need to do this week and one for can wait a bit. Very quick to do, simple and visual and when the task is done each can be ripped up and chukced away!

    Use your uni friends - your all doing the same thing so for emotional support and resource sharing its great! Uni tutors love to see resource sharing going on and not everyone jealously guarding their stuff - and they write your repferences!

    Dont read loads of theory books - best way to learn is to watch, listen, spend time there, teach, fail, suceed. Listen to feedback and set clear achievable targets and expect awfull lessons - eveyrones been there!

    And mostly - do everything so its 'good enough' and not 1 thing perfect and the rest just about done. Set time limits and set a time to work and the time to not. No more than 6 hours at the weekend and maybe 2/3 nights a week - and never past 9.30 - get your sleep!
    I was very successful on my PGCE, got top marks most of the time (lucky me!) and this was becasue I knew what needed focusing on and what wasnt needed so I wasnt spending hours working. I went out and enoyed myself, saw friends and spent time with family.
    And most of all - BE ORGNAISED but not too much as that takes time - a precious commodity!
    Sorry about all the mistakes.
    Airth
     
    freckle9 likes this.
  3. Hi
    I am on a GTP, so a bit different as we have to do the classroom stuff and assignments at the same time - so not sure if the advice will be the same, but I also have 2 kids so thought I would share.
    First - housework - what housework!!! I try and get the kids to help out a bit and wizz round on a saturday morning putting things away. But I could write my to do list in the dust on the tv : )
    If you get chance to observe lessons at the start of the course, take as many notes as you can towards Q standards so you dont have so much to do later.
    Keep up to date with getting evidence and filing it - it takes forever to get it all sorted before an assessment. I keep a spreadsheet which had each Q on it and I add the evidence to it as I file it. I colour code the grade so I can see at a glance if I need more evidence or if certain ones are lower and need more work on them.
    I dont know how one of the previous posters could do all the marking on 1 day of the week - I have 90 books to mark each day when I teach a full day - plus homework - that would be a massive load to save for one day! I try and mark the homework at dinner time then do one or two sets straight after school. I then only have to take one lot home with me on a couple of days. I plan in my ppa time and at weekends, but often tweak lessons as the week goes on depending how the class got on.
    Dont try and plan ages ahead - I have tried and been really pleased with myself only to find extra things put in the timetable or the teacher wants something else covered and having to change it all. A week is all that is needed and be flexible - it will often need to be altered.
    Get on with your TA - they are fab
    Before you start get loads of lever arch files (I have 10 on the go at the moment - 3 for Q evidence, 1 for each terms planning, 1 for each terms training sessions and a GTP one), poly wallets (loads), extra wide dividers (normal ones dont stick out - found out the hard way!), red pens, cheapy prizes/rewards/stickers. And loads and loads of ink for your printer : )
    Start assigments as soon as you can - deadlines seem ages away but they creep up really fast : )
    Find some good resource websites and stick them in your favourites ready.
    Have a really supportive husband (and mum - bless her, she does my ironing)
    I love the course, but do feel really guilty at the amount of time I get to spend with my kids - I always seem to be saying in a bit, or when I have done this - the kids are golden about it but I hate it. I am hoping to get a life back next year and have some time with them (don't get me wrong though - I dont regret doing this at all, I am not trying to be doom and gloom like some people are on here - but they do need to be aware that you might not be able to be there as much as they would like) They also love it when I ask their opinion for a worksheet or how to do something - they are my guineau pigs : )
    All the best with your course - what are you doing - primary or secondary? (sorry if you said, I cant see the post as I am typing). If you need any help send me a message and I will do my best (with my limited few months experience!!)
    x
     
  4. Thanks everyone for this great thread. I am starting primary PGCE in September and am currently trying to get organised and the very practical, positive and proactive advice on this thread is just what I need.
    Things that I am currently doing to get organised..............
    • Have turned the box room into an office and am putting up lots of new shelving to accommodate all of the inevitable lever arch files (I know this isn't practical for everyone but having good storage somewhere in your living space will help with organisation - Ikea Billy shelving fits lever files perfectly).
    • I have created a dedicated googlemail account just for PGCE work and correspondence so that important messages don't get lost amongst all the other strands of my life. I read another tip somewhere to get into the habit of emailing all your work to yourself so that you've got access from anywhere and a back-up (save to meory stick too). With a googlemail account you can also set up an online calendar with day/week/month view which is useful when setting up regular tasks for yourself.
    • I am familiarising myself with useful websites and collecting useful resources now. Hopefully this will save time whilst planning when the time comes.
    Hope this post works - first time I've posted on a forum EVER!!
     
  5. Didn't know you could do that on googlemail, thanks for the idea [​IMG]
     
  6. <font size="3">This thread is great! I&rsquo;m starting primary PGCE in September and this has been very useful.</font><font size="3"> </font><font size="3">Fab idea about googlemail, I&rsquo;m going to set up another account with them in a minute!</font><font size="3"> </font><font size="3">Another thing you could get from IKEA are those big cardboard boxes, I&rsquo;ve read they&rsquo;re perfect for keeping worksheets in etc- they come in different colours so don&rsquo;t look too drab!</font><font size="3"> </font><font size="3">Also I&rsquo;ve been reading through the QTS maths revisions guide. I got a B at GCSE but was surprised to realise how a lot of what I&rsquo;d learnt has vanished from my memory. I&rsquo;m planning on getting the QTS tests out of the way as soon as I start the course just so I can tick it off my to do list and not stress about it during the rest of the year.</font><font size="3">Just another way to get organised!</font><font size="3"> </font><font size="3">Can anyone recommend any good books for primary PGCE, MMU still haven&rsquo;t sent out the reading list!!! </font>
    Thanks [​IMG]
     
  7. I had separated that post out so it was easier to read, but when it appeared on screen it bunched it all together. [​IMG]
     
  8. I'm so pleased that my first ever post has been useful! Once you've set up a googlemail account, to access the calendar go to google home page, along the top left hand side there are extra features, under 'more' is a drop down list and the calendar feature is in here. (appontments and tasks can be colour coded - great for the extra geeky organisers amongst us)!
     
  9. I get as much done at school as possible, and make sure that I block out time for essays to both write and revise them (with a break in between to make it worthwhile!!)
    Think most things have been mentioned...a well-kept to do list (When I have trouble deciding what's important, draw up a prioritisation
    grid to help), lots of well-ordered folders (on the bookshelf AND the computer!), online supermarket shopping. I know your children are very young, but perhaps could do little things - even emptying the washing basket could be useful!
    I also have a list of things that I think will be useful next year, i.e. on my first full-time job, which I don't necessarily need on practice, but want to remember to do when I have some time over the summer!
     
  10. Thanks for all the tips everyone, I am starting a Primary PGCE this year too! I have a few books although don't want to spend too much yet. I have bought a few Sue Cowley books as I love the way she explains things, also bought some QTS skills tests books as like a previous poster even though I got a B on my GCSE it was 7 years ago and I have forgotton a lot!

    I have also bought a lovely big plastic box and over the summer just going to fill it with a few useful things like folders, paper, stationary etc. I also have been collecting childrens books (although I had a lot already as I kept them from my childhood) if I see them in the 10p library sale! I've also kept a Word file which I fill everytime I see or think of a good teaching idea (e.g. a fun maths game) so when it comes to September I have a bank of ideas!!


     
  11. Hi,
    I haven't got any children but i am currently on the SCITT course so thought i'd add my ideas.

    1. Start revising for your QTS tests, going on to the tda website and practising them will really benefit you in the long run. As soon as you get them out of the way the better so i would really look in to those now.

    2. As others have previously mentioned a good diary is a must. I had one which was a page per day and swapped to one that is two pages per week, just a little thing but i found it much easier to look at a whole week at a time.

    3. If you spot any websites, games etc that you think are really good make a note of them, you will use them later, if not during the SCITT then when you get a teaching position.

    4. When you start the course i would evaluate your lessons as soon as possible, its a little job but if you leave it to the end of the day and you taught first thing its sometimes difficult to recall what happened during the lesson so i would use breaks and lunch times effectively (as well as having a rest).

    5. Don't stress at the beginning of the course that you are missing something major, i was so worried that i would forget something or i wasn't doing everything correctly, after the first term things really do start to fall in to place and you start to get in to the swing of things.

    6. Make time for yourself. I always have one day of the weekend completely off to relax. If you don't make time for yourself you will just burn out and then you will be no good to anyone.

    7. When teaching, take pictures of the lesson if its particuarly practical, photocopy children's work etc. I recently produced a portolio for an NQT position and i was kicking myself that i hadn't taken more pictures of the work the children had produced. Its something that seems really far in to the future but you will be looking for jobs sooner than you think so start preparing.

    8. Finally enjoy yourself now and do not worry too much about what the SCITT will be bringing. I was trying to read loads of theory and practise the QTS tests over the summer that i didn't have much of a break and i really wished i hadn't come November when I was completely worn out.

    I hope the SCITT works out well for you, I absolutely love it and couldn't imagine doing anything other that teaching. It is hard work and sometimes you do wonder 'why am I doing this?' but it really is worth it.

    Good luck!
     
    freckle9 likes this.
  12. I just have to say that I really respect those with families who still manage to do their PGCE. It sounds like you work so hard! It was overwhelming even to read EnglishRose's very clever spreadsheet. Thankfully all the tips here (and knowing that others are in the same boat) will hopefully help me to get through the year..!
     
  13. I was just wondering if anyone had any thoughts on things like understanding different cultures and religions?
    I am doing my PGCE in London (where I have lived for 8 years) and I am aware than I will be on placement (and then teaching) in inner city schools with a much more diverse group of children than the schools I went to as a child (in deepest darkest Cornwall).
    I would really like to prepare myself with solid background knowledge and I'll probably do this just by researching online but I thought I'd see if anyone else had given it much thought, or seen any websites that are good for this kind of broad view for preparation?
     
  14. life2teach

    life2teach New commenter

    Hmmm I see your point [​IMG]. I am a Londoner and hadn't given it much thought about what it may be like for an outer-London person as this is second nature to me.
    Hehe at deepest darkest Cornwall [​IMG]
    Anyway maybe read up on Equality and Diversity? direct.gov and TES should have information.
    I will start my SCITT in September but when I volunteered at a primary school; there were 9 different languages in 1 class! The best advice I was given was to use a mixture of visuals, movement (if possible) and talking in your lessons so if a child has poor language skills then hopefully the use of pictures will help them understand.
    I'm not sure what else to say but just be "open" lol. I don't really know how you prepare
    Not sure if I helped
    [​IMG]

     
  15. I'm a native Londerer too. I think all you can do is keep an open mind and be willing to think outside of the box when it comes to parenting styles and beliefs. There are many different cultures that you'll find in an inner London school and we may not always agree with the way a child in our class is brought up but just because we disagree with the style, does it make it wrong?
    Be aware of certain dietry requirements of children. Obviously, Muslim and Jewish children don't eat pork, some Hindu children don't eat beef (the cow is sacred to Hindu's) and some children are vegetarian. This can be a mind field when it comes to food in the classroom. for example Haribo sweets contain geletine so therefore aren't suitable for vegetarians, or those that don't eat pork or beef.
    You should get to know fairly quickly and ask fellow staff if there are any children you should be aware of that have dietry issues, or have religious conerns that you could run it to.
     
  16. Some prior familiarity with different cultures and religions will be helpful, but don't lose sleep over it! Just ask the class teacher and mentor what you need to be aware of, and follow their advice. As schools, communities and individual classes can differ so much, you cannot possibly prepare for every eventuality, but usually the reality is far less complicated than you may fear. After all, they are all children and have all their basic needs, desires and aspirations. Be sensitive to their feelings and backgrounds, but just treat them as people, and you can't go far wrong.
     
  17. One thing that impacts directly on your teaching is if your class contains a high proportion of EAL (English as additional language) pupils, esp in the early stage of language acquisition (i.e. with poor command of English). Then you have to work closely with class teacher, TAs, LSAs and so on so that they can all access their lesson. For example, you may have to give your lesson plan and resources to a TA in advance so that they can translate, and you may pair children so that those with a better command of English can help those with less. Again you should get all the help you require from your class teacher.
     
  18. This is a great thread! I start my PGCE (Maths 11 - 18) in September (101 days left in the corporate world and counting....) and whilst I don't have children, I have two horses I compete with (endurance - long distance) who take up a fair amount of time. I think I've come to the conclusion that they won't be doing much over the winter/spring, and they can come back into work in the summer.
    I already live my life via my diary (1 day per page - can't be without it!) so I know the value of it!

    Lots of really useful tips here so thanks very much.
     
  19. Hiya!!
    I have just started a maths pgce, infect just a week into it! So far it's good and very exciting, I just hope this excitement stays through out the entire course ! I also have 2 children (6 & 9), and I have been a full time mum uptil now, so I want to make sure that I can still give them my time! I am trying to keep a week ahead too, but I'm not sure if I can do that all the time, I will definitely try! I like your Sunday list definitely an idea I would try out! If there is any other tips please let me know! Where did you do your pgce from? Are you doing your NQT year now? Are maths teachers really as demanding as they say!
     

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