My first term as a PGCE student has been non-stop. I have constantly had things to do; this might have been overwhelming except for the fact that they were all so interesting. My weeks this term have been structured so that I spend two to three days in my placement school and the remaining weekdays in the university department: either with my curriculum group, learning the theory of how to teach maths; or as an entire PGCE cohort, learning about broader aspects such as safeguarding and behaviour management.

The curriculum sessions have been incredibly useful: teaching me how to plan a lesson from the breakdown of what a topic consists of, making notes of any prior knowledge and possible misconceptions, to putting this into a lesson format with every minute planned out. This has been incredibly useful to implement in school, giving me initial confidence to know exactly what I should be doing when. As I have taught more lessons, the timings have become vaguer due to my increase in confidence and therefore ability to be more flexible on the spot. However these plans are still extremely useful and certainly produce more productive lessons than would occur otherwise. In curriculum sessions we have also discussed a variety of topics; both specific areas of maths to broaden our subject knowledge and overarching themes such as problem solving and how we can apply this to lessons.

In school I have had the opportunity to understand how the school and maths department run. By being assigned to a tutor group, and thus a house, I have been able to work with students in a more pastoral role. I have attended house meetings and staff meetings, through which I have developed a sense of how the school works and idea of the issues it is facing. For example they are currently trying to raise awareness of, and thus hope to reduce, LGBTQ+ bullying. On the pedagogical side, I have observed many lessons taught by a variety of teachers which have not only given me many ideas to implement in my own lessons but allowed me to assess how students react to different styles of teaching. In the second half term I have taken on a core class whom I have been able to teach initially individual lessons, then consecutive lessons, finally to build up to teaching entire topics.

I am really looking forward to next term when we are in school five days a week. The challenge of teaching a variety of age groups and abilities is one I’m looking forward to.

By Holly Gibbons