Post 5: Stay Positive – Stephanie Jenkins

Just to give you all warning, I have never done a blog before and I really wanted to do a jazzy video but with my Frog being my assignment I haven’t had the time. Apologies, I know that’s what you all wanted!

I relate to comedy and tragedy masks within theatre if something I do goes well, I’m happy and I smile. But, the when something doesn’t go how I expected then I feel disheartened and sad. I know some of you will also have good days and some days where you need a little encouragement to be positive again. So, as we approach Week 6 of the course I am finding myself to be very conscious of deadlines, having taken on this challenge of being a trainee teacher I know that there is HUGE amounts of work to do but I can see a rewarding endgame. The more positive you are the better you will feel.

My aim is to teach young people about my passion for the arts and hopefully inspire a few along the way. I am enjoying teaching students about a subject that has been at the forefront of my education for as long as I can remember. Seeing pupils who are engaged within my lesson is pleasing because although I don’t have much experience yet I can still support students and help them progress. I have already taken on extra opportunities, for example going on a trip to Leicester Space Museum and co-running Drama Society. (Promoted with fabulous new poster!)

During the first week, I delivered two Year 7 lessons focussing on teamwork skills within drama and this was demonstrated through drama games. Now I love drama games but some people feel that it can make you look silly, I was worried that students would hear ‘game’ and go crazy! The group I worked with really understood that for the game to work, they needed to use teamwork skills and communicate with each other.  To see a group of year 7’s who don’t know each other that well work as a team was rewarding and they had learnt some key drama skills whilst having fun! What could be better? Oh yes, that’s right – “Miss, that was the best drama lesson EVER!!” Yes, a student said it was the best drama lesson ever and that for me was a highlight of my journey so far. There have also been times when I don’t feel so positive, but the best way to deal with any negatives is to reflect and see how to overcome or improve any issues.

Miss, that was the best drama lesson EVER!!

So, although there will be times when you are stressed with deadlines or something isn’t going the way you want, remember tomorrow is a new day. Teaching is a rewarding career and a simple comment like the one above can make all the stress seem worth it. If you can show students you are enthusiastic then it may project on to them.

Have a great week guys!

Post 4: Face Everything And Rise! – Ashanti Anderson

By Ashanti Anderson

Sometimes as we get older, the simple things we learn as children slip from our memories – yet some of the little life lessons that adults said ‘will make sense when you are older’ creep back into mind as you approach those pesky little obstacles that life seems to throw every now and then. One that has crept back into my mind recently is so short yet so simple and it is all about fear. Not the kind of fear that makes you jump or the kind of fear that might lead to a phobia. Just general fears, referring to things we might be dreading or feeling anxious about as we go about our day to day lives.They might be small or insignificant to someone else but to you, it might be the very thing holding you back from doing the best and being the best you can be.

You might be anxious about things relating to the course – observations, paperwork, managing behaviour, planning a lesson that the children will enjoy and benefit from etc – or things completely unrelated to the course maybe in your personal life. But when it comes down to it, a lot of our fears are just our own ‘False Expectations Appearing Real’, so in order to overcome them we must ‘Face Everything And Rise’.

This never made sense to me as a kid because as far as i could tell, most of my fears were real! I hated spiders. Spiders are real. AND I always expected that at some point during the summer i would walk into a spider’s web and without fail, at least 5 times every summer i did (tragic). So there was no way i was going to bravely face a spider! So I brushed this valuable acrostic under the carpet. Yet somehow over the weekend as I was feeling anxious about the new challenge ahead of me – covering a lesson for a different class – it all came back to me and of course it all made sense.

Face Everything And Rise

So today I looked at my challenge from a new perspective and before i went into to school I reminded myself to face everything and rise and believe me, it worked. I felt ready for the day, and as it turns out, my ‘fear’ was a False Expectation Appearing Real. Initially I expected the worst. However when I began to rise above and see my challenge as an opportunity, it turned out to be exactly that. And instead of being the worst day, it turned out to be one of the best.

So guys what i’m trying to say in a roundabout way is have a bit more faith in yourself, and if you are ever in need of a confidence boost or an anxiety buster, remember you can do it!

Think ‘Face Everything And Rise’ and I guarantee you will!

Post 3: Eat those frogs! – Emma Thomas

Blog 3 – Emma Thomas

With us entering week 4 and the excitement followed by nerves of entering the classroom and
taking ownership of small activities or the whole lessons the realisation of the pleasure and pain theory! The pleasure of teaching the pupils and embarking on the profession we’ve all dreamed off alongside the pain of the paperwork and lesson planning. However, the pain of lesson planning is very short lived and after you get the hang of it the pleasure and pain theory will be no more! So as the paperwork and workload begins to build up (lesson plans, assignments etc.), it’s worthwhile getting into the habit of a to do list! However, there will always be that one thing on your to-do list that you always try to avoid. What we call the frog.

Mark Twain has been given credit for making the following statement:

“If you know you have to swallow a frog, swallow it first thing in the morning. If there are two frogs, swallow the big one first.” – Mark Twain

From that statement has come a business/work philosophy and self-help concept written about in a number of books. In fact, one book by professional development trainer Brian Tracy is actually titled “Eat That Frog.”

The idea behind this statement is that when it comes to the tasks you face each day, you should find the worst one (your frog), the one that you least want to do, and do that one first thing. There are several benefits of doing this:

  • You get it out of the way and it will not eat at you for the rest of the day.
  • Getting it done can motivate you to get even more accomplished.
  • It helps you not procrastinate the problem into the next day, week, or month.
  • You are doing it when you have the most energy and emotional reserve.
  • You now have time to focus on the tasks you enjoy or want to do.

So as you get up each morning, say to yourself, “Time to swallow the frog.” You might even want to put a picture of a frog on your bathroom mirror or your car’s dashboard to remind and motivate you to do it. The more you do this, the easier it will become, and pretty soon you will eat your frogs each and every day with greater ease.

Today my Frog was this Blog… as you can see I’ve successfully swallowed it and here it is uploaded by 10am. Have a great week. – Watch the swallow the frog video and get swallowing!

Post 2: Past, present and future – Kath Minett-Waller

Progress – past, present and future.

It has been a busy week and everyone is quickly thrown in again to the complexities of the job of teaching! Our new cohort of primary and secondary trainees, here at South Birmingham SCITT, will be starting each new day with feelings of excitement and exhilaration – that they have finally started their journey. Mixed with this will be a certain amount of trepidation, as they see fantastic teachers achieving fantastic things, across our partnership of schools.

There has been a plethora of research around teacher training over many years, where stages of trainee development has been identified and written about. Terminology such as ‘survival’ ‘mastery’ ‘consequence orientated’ (Fuller and Brown 1975), and, ‘fitting in’, ‘passing the test’ and ‘exploring’ (Calderhead, 1987) are used to describe stages of development. Further, trainee concerns such as, lesson planning and evaluation, discipline, working with pupils, working with cooperating teachers and adjusting their classrooms, working with others in the profession, and transitions from trainee to professional teacher, – are all identified as issues held by trainee teachers in research by Guillaume and Rudney, (1993).

Trainees may well be turning their thoughts to these issues as they embark on the first stages of their professional journey; each of them entering into the profession from a different experience or starting point. With this however, come reassurances that training will remain bespoke: tailored to the needs of the individual.

‘Idealism’ is a word that has cropped up on more than one occasion over the past week or so. Firstly, in the context of teacher-training itself, followed closely by a discussion about pupils and their readiness to learn.

‘Early idealism’ is the first of five stages of trainee development identified by Furlong and Maynard (1985), (along with ‘personal survival’, ‘dealing with difficulties’, ‘hitting a plateau’ and ‘moving on’). Trainees may well find themselves identifying with these stages, and the feelings that characterise them, as they progress. These feelings will be real – and at times disconcerting. Trainees however should take comfort; with the fabulous network of support they have around them, they will be able to overcome problems and obstacles and move on. This will form part of the natural flow of things – enabling them to develop and move towards more complex thought patterns as their learning, experience and responsibility as teachers increase. And, not to be put off – they are with us because we have already seen the teacher in them, believing they will progress into the great teachers our pupils need.

Furlong and Maynard (1985) identified that trainees are often idealistic to begin with: towards the feelings they have for the pupils and the image they hold of themselves as teachers. They have an idea about the kind of teacher they want to be, the kind of relationships they want to develop, what they want their classroom to look like and the atmosphere they want to create. These ideals are largely influenced by past experiences, of pupils themselves, their own teachers and their more recent experiences of schools and classrooms, through further school experience prior to training.

The first of our professional study days, here at South Birmingham SCITT, introduced the trainees to lesson planning. But this was so much more than simply planning a lesson and completing a planning template! The session delved into how children learn, with a focus on key educational theorists; Skinner, Piaget and Vygostsky. This led to valuable discussions regarding classroom climate, teaching approaches, engagement, pace and challenge.

Idealism arose again during the afternoon session, which introduced the trainees to research
practice. Ideally, we want all pupils to achieve and make good or better progress. But – what if a child isn’t ready to learn? Great dialogue followed – fuelled by reference made to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1954); a discussion of the differences between what is ideal and what is realistic. Maslow’s theory may well have been developed a good number of years ago – but still holds great relevance today – and encouragingly instils progress in the education system and development in our schools. Using the basic need for good nutrition as an example, the implementation of breakfast clubs into schools over the last decade or so, and more recently, under a coalition government (2010-16), free school meals for all Key Stage one pupils, exemplifies how everyone working together ensures this significant physiological need of our pupils in school is being met. This is progress.

Our trainees are at the start of a fantastic new journey. There will be highs and challenges on the way. Mistakes will be learnt from – resilience built as they go. They will receive the very best support possible and encouraged to be responsive to the feedback they receive, so they may truly recognise the real impact they will have on the learning and progress of the pupils they teach.

It is a time to encourage criticality; to ask questions, reflect, test ideas and assumptions, and of course ideals, and recognise how these change and shape the reality – past, present and future! At some point this week – or next – many of us may well question some of our ideals. This is to be embraced as this will enable our thoughts and practice to move forward – this too is progress!

Post 1: Don’t be afraid of change – embrace, grow and move on – Lizzy Ford

E.Ford – Director of South Birmingham SCITT

Don’t be afraid of change – embrace, grow and move on …
The weather this last week has certainly made the summer holidays fade into
memories and photographs. Despite the wind and rain battering at the
classroom window, the Autumn Term is a fantastic time to embrace change
and celebrate new beginnings in everything we do.

There are always opportunities to celebrate new beginnings. Special times
like; getting married, moving house, having children, caterpillars changing into
butterflies, … the start of a new school year. There are so many things in life
to do, new things, new careers, new adventures, new jobs … it may never
seem the right time for change. And as Fullan (2003) states “change is
messy”. But life is about change and how we deal with it is our choice.

In sociology, ‘social change’ may refer to changes in society, such as women
being given the right to vote. In politics it might be things such as the EU
referendum, the calling of a general election or major government throughout
the world. In science, it may refer to the changes that happen during
metamorphosis. Mathematicians refer to ‘percentage change’ …

Reflecting back on the last 14 years we
couldn’t miss this exciting opportunity by clinging onto the past and starting
conversations with the ‘good old days’.

In June 2017 a situation presented itself to Ninestiles ITT Consortium & BPTP
meaning change was inevitable. Reflecting back on the last 14 years we
couldn’t miss this exciting opportunity by clinging onto the past and starting
conversations with the ‘good old days’. Change and challenges are
unavoidable and vital. Embracing change enables us to grow, better
ourselves and improve our circumstances. Strengthening our partnership with
further Teaching School Alliances (CPTSA & Waverley TSA) we are fuelled
with great ideas of something that is laudable and worthwhile and from the
outset everyone started to put in the extra effort to achieve our new
successes. And so, we officially became South Birmingham SCITT and found
our new home in Solihull, at the Sixth Form College.

As we excitedly embrace our new beginnings we send a very warm welcome
to our new cohort of trainees. Together we will help and support them through
challenges and times of change as they enter the teaching profession. But
they will ultimately know that they are necessary steps of entering such a
fantastic, fulfilling and rewarding career.