Returning to my former college for the first placement of my PGCE year was always going to be a strange, yet exciting experience, and my first week has proven to be exactly that.

Throughout the week, I have been lucky enough to observe all kinds of lessons within the maths department; A Level Maths, Core Maths, GCSE Resit classes and even online lessons, which have ranged across both year groups. I have even had the opportunity to observe and work closely with both of my former A-Level Maths teachers, which is certainly strange as I am no longer the student, but now a colleague. However, the most bizarre part of the week would have to be witnessing the adaptation of teaching and learning, and even college life itself, post-lockdown.

Many changes are clear to see within college, not just simply the social distancing rules, but the impact they are having on the way teaching is now performed. The newest edition to our typical classroom layout is the dreaded teacher’s box; a police-taped off area at the front of the classroom where the teachers must remain, and pupils must not enter. Despite the obvious safety precautions behind the reasoning for the box, the impact it is having on lessons is huge and is certainly not ideal for optimal learning. It has undoubtedly had massive implications on the planning and teaching of lessons and is something I am going to have to consider when I begin teaching myself in the coming weeks.

Even with the new difficulties to teaching, like the restrictions the teacher’s box puts in place, I have been very impressed with the quality of teaching which I have observed. The teachers continue to set the highest standards for their pupils and the pupils are responding with an excellent attitude and commitment. I now look forward to the coming weeks and months where I begin my teaching journey in these exceptional circumstances and I also look forward to meeting my fellow maths scholars, sooner rather than later.

By Eddy Slater