My First Week at School Based Placement!

By Samira Quraishy 

 I consider myself to be quite a confident person and was relaxed pretty much most of the previous day, even going as far as trying to calm other trainees of their nerves for what was to come. And yet, here I was, on day one of my placement, walking towards the school, seeing the throng of uniforms-on-legs heading towards the entrance, and I was suddenly overcome by self-doubt. Can I really do this? Will I be good enough? What will the students think of me when they see me?

With all this buzzing around in my end, I completely missed the main entrance, where I was due to meet my PCM, and instead, followed the students through to their entrance. Do you remember those school-based movies, where someone is suddenly surrounded by students left, right and centre, and frozen to the spot looking around wildly for the quickest exit? Well – thankfully that wasn’t me. I stopped, took a breath and asked one of the students to direct me to reception. And that was it. I made contact with the student species…and they could understand me, and they did answer my question and I succeeded in finding my PCM! Hooray! 

I met my other PGCE cohorts, different subjects but same university, which was pretty nice. We were taken straight to observe a year 9 assembly and I was pleasantly surprised to see how well behaved the students were, and how interactive the assembly was (magic tricks and eager assistants from the audience). We were then whisked off to get a brief overview of the school, get the admin side over and meet our subject mentors – and the fact that my mentor is younger than me did not faze me at all (!) 

Again observing and sitting in the corner of the classroom for my first observation was slightly intimidating, but when I saw the young, eager year 8s walk in, chatting happily amongst themselves and then quickly settling down ready for a lesson on algebraic fractions (a few moans came of course when the new topic was introduced… “Miss?! Algebra and fractions?!”), my nerves quickly quietened. The first lesson I was observing was my mentor’s and she often came up to me to make sure I was comfortable, asked me to walk around and check students’ work and answer any questions they had, so I was put to task straight away which was good and made notes whenever she was actively explaining/teaching to the class. The whole maths department have been welcoming, and eager to answer any questions I had. 

The next few days I immersed myself in observing different classes, different sets, and different year groups. I got a real sense of the authority the teacher holds in a classroom and the responsibility we have as future teachers, to do justice to these young peoples’ education and development. I’ve only just started, but there’s something special about this school – there’s a calmness in the corridors and pleasantness amongst the staff and, dare I say it, enthusiasm in the (maths) classrooms, which I haven’t observed in other schools.