The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I have a day off!!! Hurrah!! Well, I call it a day off if it isn't either sitting in class all day learning about maths (PGCE could really put you off your favourite subject) or in school teaching or at home peeling tiles off the bathroom wall.

The bathroom project was meant to be the kitchen until we discovered that the plumbing for the bathroom protrudes into what was meant to be the new kitchen ceiling…so I now have a half destroyed kitchen AND a half destroyed bathroom – AND all my kitchen appliances arriving in a month…they will need to live in the conservatory (shed!) for the next six months until the bathroom gets done.

So far I spent this treasured moment, me free day, as follows:

a) doing the laundry...just keeps on mounting up, no matter how much you do, there is always more…I thought only people with kids were meant to have these problems

b) going into town for a coffee with my neglected husband and planning the layout for the aforementioned bathroom

c) coming into college to do a tutorial on Interactive Whiteboards for my fellow students. Some are going into schools next week and haven’t used this tool before. They think it’s the devils work, I think it’s the best thing since quadratics, so to save them I did a little teach-in. In contrast the school where I am going only has normal whiteboards, which I am dreading!! What do you do if you can’t “flip” back a page…can’t use lovely predesigned webmaterials…can’t draw a straight line!! All schools should have interactive boards in all classrooms. This is the 21st century, lets make use of it!

d) doing maths...this is a never ending task…cramming 2 A levels in the odd half hour here and there…never quite getting it. We are taught in college about instrumental and relational understanding – the difference between learning by rote/for exams and learning by understanding/doing/seeing. Well, if you did maths 20 years ago and are having to cram it all again, its pretty much by rote!! I’d love to have the time to really “get it” but as ever, time is a shortage commodity. At least I learnt yesterday what a dodecahedron is…that’s bound to stand me in good stead!

The less than ideal news is that I face a 3 hr daily round trip (1.5 hrs out, 1.5 hrs back) to get to my new school placement. Sucks. I am feeling very negative about this next placement because I know that with that amount of traveling time (not to mention the cost – uncovered by anyone but me) I won’t be able to spend as long planning lessons. Or doing any extracurricular stuff. I can’t leave school at 5.30, get home at 7pm and then do another 3 hrs planning/marking AND cook, eat, launder, exercise and sleep…the scales don’t balance. Not being able to plan as much as I like means that my lessons won’t be so good and I won’t get good evaluations. Bit disheartened. College say it isn’t their fault because the local schools don’t want so many students this year.

All in all…no jobs for us round here, no schools want students…why IS there such a massive “be a teacher campaign?”