One Down, Two to go…

I cannot believe that I have made it to my final week of first year as a trainee teacher! It is very true what they say about university happening very fast but I did not think it would fly by this quickly.

I have really enjoyed my time as a first year student and can confidently say that I have started to identify what my teaching identity is and what kind of teacher I can be. I thought that as my last post of first year, I would go through all my favourite parts of my first year of the Primary Education course!

Faculty of Education
  • Science – I really loved all my science classes this year, enough to change from an English Specialist to a Science Specialist! The lessons were really fun and engaging and I can’t wait to use what I have learned in my own classroom some day!
  • Lectures – to be honest, I thought that the lectures were going to be boring but, I was pleasantly surprised when I attended the first couple of lectures and they were anything but boring.
  • 1D – I have met some really lovely people on this course, especially in my seminar group. Could not have done maths from 4-6 on a Thursday without them!
  • Placement – this goes without saying that professional practice really did make me even more passionate about becoming a teacher, even when I had my doubts. I loved the school that I was placed in so much and the help and support I received throughout my practice was immense.
  • APD lectures – these were probably one of my favourite lectures to attend because I always found them really interesting and engaging.
  • Minor Specialism – I was so glad that I was able to dedicate one day out of my week to work on a subject that I was really really passionate about which is Physical Education. It was so different from sitting in the lecture hall or class as I was able to move about but learn as well.

Thank you for reading! I am so happy with how my first year has went and I cannot wait until my next year begins!

Lauren x

PSKA and ESKA week!

After all the worrying and stressing over PSKA’S and ESKA’S I can finally say that they are all over! I am glad that I kept all my evidence in the one PSKA folder from all my subjects as it was much easier to refer back to during my ESKA’S and I didn’t need to keep four separate folders.

my PSKA folder!

Now time to relax and await my final assignment marks to return….

Thank you for reading!

Lauren x

The Easter Holidays

So, I am currently back in ‘wee’ Ireland on my Easter holidays, enjoying the family time and catching up with friends and all the dogs walks I missed out on when I was in Uni.

One of my many sunrise photos

While I was submitting my Minor Specialism assignment, it quickly dawned on me that I have nearly finished my first year in Uni and I cannot get over how quickly the year goes by.

I will be doing an overall ‘first year experience’ on my digital story but I just wanted to upload this to someday look back on reminisce on how amazing my time at Edge Hill has been and how thankful I am for all the support I have had from my teachers and seminar group.

Currently trying to start the final assignment of first year (PED1016) so hopefully I can look back on this blog and remind myself that even when I am finding something really difficult at the moment, I know that I will eventually overcome it…after a couple of tantrums and smashing of keyboards… 🙂

Thanks for reading this really spontaneous and non-procrastination driven post. See ya,

Lauren xo

My Caving Experience with My Year 3 Class

Hey everyone! A couple of weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to go on a school trip with my year 3 class as part of their ‘Stone Age’ topic. However, this was not like any other school trip I have been on as it involved me going underground…in a cave…with 31 children…

One of the caves we explored on the day!

To be completely honest, I was very apprehensive about attending the trip as I did not like the thought of being confined underground for a period of time but I knew that I may never be given this experience again.

I had to make sure that I had everything prepared the night before: thermal hat, thermal socks, thermal gloves, welly-boots, raincoat, thermal leggings and waterproof socks. I also had to make sure that I had my alarm set for 4:45 so that I could get the taxi at 5:45 to be at the school before 7 to help with the children. This was probably the hardest part of the trip.

Once I had helped the children into their thermal boiler suits and packed them on the bus to the caves, my nerves calmed as I knew I had to be brave for the children and be as encouraging as I could.

Yes, I had to climb through this with several children screaming and water filling my boots…still fun though!

As we squeezed through the caves, the leader taught us all about the history of the caves and interesting facts which actually calmed me down. The children really enjoyed learning all they could about the caves in between the times they weren’t climbing over the rocks and exploring the caves deeper.

I found that the trip was amazing for the children in terms of building resilience and trusting their partners to lead them through the dark stretch of tunnels. Seeing them grow braver with each cave they explored was quite fulfilling as some of them were apprehensive about going in the first place.

The trip to the caves was also very beneficial for me as I felt as though I overcame a fear I didn’t know I had. I am so thankful for my placement school for providing me with this learning opportunity and allowing me to experience a trip with no limits.

Overall, after a very long, tiring day, it is safe to say that it was a trip that I will always remember!

Thank you for reading – Lauren x

First Placement.

I cannot believe that I only have two more weeks left of my first placement as a trainee teacher here at Edge Hill University. The time as flown by without me even realising it.

I want to use this blog to talk about my experience of placement so far. There is A LOT to talk about but I will try and keep this as condensed as I can.

My First Week

5:45am, my alarm blares. Time for my first day at my placement school and to be honest, I was far too tired to even think about the day ahead. It wasn’t until I got in the taxi and began talking to the other girls on the same placement did the excitement and nerves start to kick in.

When we arrived we were greeted by the deputy head teacher and he took us for a tour around the school and introduced us to all the teachers, staff and some of the children. After seeing the school and learning a little more about the ethos, my excitement grew and my nerves calmed.

We then were introduced to our classes. I, along with another student, was placed in a year 3 class and they are the BEST children ever (not biased in any way). The teacher and classroom assistant were so welcoming and they made sure to make us feel comfortable.

The first week consisted of observations and it was so interesting to see what we had been learning about in lectures be put into practice.

As the days continued and the first week came to a close, I was so comfortable in the classroom and was beginning to know each child individually. It now seems like ages ago since my first week.

6:45, waiting for my morning pick up to school!

My First Lesson

My first lesson was to teach a maths starter on the 2, 5 and 10 times tables. I was beyond nervous but thankfully I was team teaching with another student and we were able to help each other out.

We began by using a chant to ensure that the children had a sound idea of what the multiples were and once we went over them a few times we played a game of Number Bingo which they loved! It was so heart-warming to see the children understand the work they had been set and engage in a lesson that I had helped create.

Now that I am further on in my professional practice, teaching mental and oral starters come naturally and I am now teaching full lessons of English and Maths and more recently a topic on caving.

It feels so natural standing up in front of the class and talking to the children, using behavioural techniques and asking them questions about what we are learning. Most importantly, I absolutely love doing it and I am always so excited to create lessons and think of new ways to develop their subject knowledge.

A small example of one of my first maths starters on angles. The children loved guessing the type of angles and writing down how many they got right!

General Feelings

As I said, I could go on for ages about my experience of professional practice but I want to save the details for a later blog.

At the minute, I am planning full lessons for English and Maths and I will soon be planning a religion lesson after the mid-term break! It all sounds very scary at the moment but I am also so excited to get back to school and teach the children again. There is no part of me that gets nervous to teach because of how well I know the children and I know what they are capable of and who may struggle.

I am so thankful and grateful for being placed at the school I am for my first placement as a trainee teacher. They have given me so many opportunities to expand my knowledge and build on what kind of a teacher I aim to be.

Thanks for reading and look out for the next part of my digital story all about my first observation!

Coping with change.

Hey everyone, and welcome to part 3 of My Digital Story! I am currently on placement for my first year of being a trainee teacher and I am loving every minute of it so far. In part 4 of My Digital Story, I will go into more detail about how I have been finding it and what I have been getting up to!

For this part, I wanted to add in something that I struggled with the most when I first started this journey and how I overcame it as I believe it might help anyone else who has dealt with it. Enjoy!

Starting the course!

When I first came to university, I was obviously so scared about the drastic change that would inevitably happen. I knew that it was going to be different from what I had been doing my whole life, however I didn’t know how to deal with it. It took me a long time to settle into a routine which was not easy to find and that is one piece of advice I would give anyone who is struggling with change, take your time.

Luckily for me, in my first term, I had so many people to help me settle into the change of direction and new journey of my life. And so, when I did find my feet and routine, I had a whole group of people to help me cope with assignments, lectures and I could help them in return.

After I had settled into the campus and the course (after a good month or two) I was so happy and enthusiastic about going to lectures, seminars and as weird and nerdy as it sounds, completing assignments, simply because I knew what I was doing!

Before Professional Practice began…

Now, after going home for almost a month during Christmas, my routine went out the window! I had a new routine at home that was completely different to what I had at university; getting up and going to lectures, coming back to the flat or going to the catalyst to work on assignments was what I knew.

When I returned back to campus after Christmas, I knew everything was going to change which, knowing me, scared the life out of me. As a result of this, I was very stressed and almost made a decision that would change this journey.

After annoying my mum on the phone for a very long time (sorry mum), I realised that this was exactly how I felt before starting university in September and that all I needed was some time to settle into my placement school and find a routine that works for me and my professional practice.

And again, I had such amazing support from my friends and family to keep me on track so that I could continue with my journey of being a teacher.

Now: Week Three of Professional Practice

At this point in time, I am on week 3 of Professional Practice and I could not be happier with where I am in terms of not just placement but mindset and my journey.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have settled in really well again to living in halls and travelling to school everyday.

This post might not relate to a lot of people, but it is part of my personally journey as a trainee teacher and I thought it was important to share all the ups and downs of it as I know I will look back at this and be thankful for how far I have come as teacher.

See ya next time, Lauren Fitzsimons, 1D.

My First Term as a Trainee Teacher!

Hey everyone and happy 2019!

As I enter my second term at Edge Hill University, I thought that this would be a good time to look back upon my first term as a trainee teacher. Enjoy!

When I first started the course on the 17th of September, I had no clue what to do or what I was doing. There were so many new experiences that I was not prepared for. The most prominent was the size of the course I was in, there are so many people!

This aspect scared me the most especially because I didn’t know anybody and so I felt majorly out of place. However, in my first seminar class for APD were I was able to meet my class, I made sure to push myself to talk to people and get to know them, which helped me in the long run.

First Time Presenting to my Class!

I can also remember how nervous I was about presenting a piece of work in front of the class for the first time. For APD, we had to create a presentation called ‘This is Me” were we spoke about our experiences in teaching and what inspired us to become teachers in the first place.

After listening to a couple of people in my class, I started to feel as though my experiences were not as amazing or rewarding as the others and so the thought of going up to present my slides was almost crippling. Well, that is a slight exaggeration but, you get my point.

It turns out that after I had presented my slides, people were interested in my background. My classmates asked me questions about where I lived and what sort of experiences I had. I then knew that I had nothing to worry about because everyone’s experiences are unique to them.

My First University Assignment!

Not going to lie, the assignments did come as a bit of a shock to me, especially the referencing! I was very used to writing assignments in sixth form but I had never had to think about referencing, never mind Harvard referencing. Although, after a few stressful writing sessions and help from the uniskills team, I quickly got the hang of it and came out with a surprisingly high score for my first university assignment!

The Catalyst Building, aka my favourite place to do assignments!

My First Time at a School in England!

Throughout the first term, we had three exemplar visit days in which we had a theme we had to observe when visiting the schools. For example, the final visit day, the focus was around SEN and safeguarding and so, this is what we had to observe and focus on that particular day.

I remember my first exemplar visit day as being quite exciting. Because I came from Northern Ireland, I was sure that there was going to be some differences and so I couldn’t wait to see what it was like.

Now that I am starting my first professional practice on the 14th of January, I am very grateful that I went on these visits. Before them, I was a little apprehensive about starting professional practice at a school in England as I had zero experience in it. However, I made sure to ask the teachers questions about anything I was unsure about and they were more than happy to answer.

I now can’t wait to start my professional practice as I feel so much more prepared!

Overall…

I don’t want to make this too long but, believe me when I say that there is so much more I could talk about.

I am very happy with my first term at Edge Hill University as a trainee teacher and I am also quite proud at how far I have come. I originally was not even thinking about moving to England and staying at my safe little spot in Northern Ireland. However, I think that the experiences I have had during my first term as a trainee have taught me so much about what kind of teacher I can be and how independence is so important and crucial to becoming that teacher because, no one else can do it for me, only I can.

Class 1D!

Get to Know Me!

As part of our Academic and Personal Development course, we were asked to create a ‘digital story’ as a way to document our journey as a beginner trainee teacher to one day being a fully qualified teacher!

On the 16th of September 2018, I moved to Ormskirk from Northern Ireland with a car load of my belongings, ready to start my life as a first-year trainee primary school teacher. As much as I was excited to begin my journey here, I also couldn’t quite believe that I made the decision to leave everything I knew behind in Ireland. However, writing this now, I know that I made the right decision.

I have now been on this journey for more than two months and I am glad to say that I have settled in really well with my course and in my halls which, I thought would be the hardest experience of my life because of how hard I find any change in my life. However, without even realising it, I was half way through my course and had settled in to my new home better than I could have ever imagined!

Okay, now that you have a little background about me, how about I tell you about the reasons why I wanted to become a teacher and what kind of teacher I aspire to be in the future;

My Home
“Always remember where you came from.”

What inspired me to be a teacher?

If I am going to be completely honest with you, I have changed my mind about the career I want to pursue so many times. There were times that I thought I wanted to be a publisher, an author(which is still a career I intend to pursue), a speech therapist for children and a personal trainer! Yeah, I changed my mind a lot.

However, I always knew that in the back of my mind I wanted to be a Primary School Teacher, but I kept thinking about what other jobs I could do. It wasn’t until I spoke to my mum, who is a primary school teacher, that I knew I had to give it a chance and believe that I could do it.

And so, I suppose you could say that my mum is my inspiration behind why I wanted to be a teacher, because listening to her stories when she came home from school about the children and her lessons really intrigued me and I could see from her face that she was so passionate about what she does.

My mum is an amazing teacher and although she has told me how difficult the job is, her stories about her school day really highlight how rewarding and enjoyable it is to work in a school environment.

Who do I want to be as a teacher?

One of our first ‘APD’ lessons involved taking about who we want to be as a teacher, or in other words, our ‘teacher identity.’ I really enjoyed this lesson as I was able to listen to people’s aspirations for what kind of teacher they wish to be, and I got to share mine.

  • For me, I always remembered the funny teachers in my primary school. In my opinion, a lesson needs to have humour and the ability to make children laugh because, who doesn’t like laughing? One teacher in particular was amazing at filling the lesson with funny comments and jokes but was still able to keep control of the class and teach us all the skills we needed to know. And so, this is part of my teacher identity I want to pursue through my training years to ensure my class has laughter and fun no matter what lesson we have!
  • Being kind is also a massive part of my teacher identity and it is one that resonates the most with me. Growing up,I always had a problem with maths, my confidence levels in the subject were so low and as a result it really impacted how I performed in the subject. Through both primary and secondary school, I had the most amazing support from individual teachers, who never once doubted my ability and kept pushing me to succeed in the tests and homework even though it was not an easy job.

What are my qualities?

Okay, I guess there is no avoiding this part of the teacher journey. Here are some of my personal qualities that I think will really benefit me as a teacher in the future;

  • Passionate – from changing my mind so many times about what career I want to pursue, I always had it in the back of my mind thatI wanted to be a teacher! Being around children made me so happy and the thought of giving children an education they will carry with them through out their life filled me with so much passion that I didn’t have a choice but cave in and apply for a teaching course!
  • Organised – I have been told that this is who I am on a daily basis and to be honest, I love it! Being in a classroom with 20+children is crazy but having everything prepared and organised for lessons is bound to be a helpful start. I am always on top of my assignments, my work is tidied away into neat folders and my work space is never a clutter. Hopefully, when I have my own classroom, this will come in very handy!
  • Good listener – it is always a good sign when someone tells you you’re a good listener. I always make sure that when someone is having trouble, I have nothing in my hands and my full attention is on them. If a child were to come to me with a problem, I would want them to feel as though they can trust me and feel comfortable telling me, knowing that I am engaging and listening to everything they say so that I can help them in whatever way possible.

And that concludes my first ‘Digital Journey’ as a trainee teacher! I hope you enjoyed and look out for my future posts. 

Lauren Fitzsimons.