I’ve been absent for so long and there is much I need to cover. My excuse is this: I was busy 😀
I left on a quiet note and everything about the days up until the weekend have been quite insane.
I had a presentation to deliver that morning and was the first one up. So most of my Monday and Tuesday was taken up with getting that done. And I am happy to report it went well and I received good feedback. Other people’s presentations were based on their subject areas and with one art trainee we got to draw. The task was to close or eyes, touch our face and draw what we feel, not what we’re touching. So I drew this:
But the guy next to me drew this. Not sure what he was ‘feeling’ lol:
In short, Wednesday was a chilled sort of day and to celebrate a friends birthday we decided to eat out at My Old Dutch and enjoy some glorious pancakes:
And on my way home I noticed once again someone wearing socks with sandals. It finally clicked then that this really was a thing in ‘fashion’ now. First I thought it was only the sport students in my college walking around with sandals after their practice, but after seeing it a few times on my commute, I realise it’s real. How did it happen?!
It was an important day to take notes and be in lectures for a long time; we were having our intros into the next module. It was also the day before I was delivering a lesson on a poem I was struggling to…understand. I’ll come back to this.
So come the end of the I’m planning on burying myself in work, but my friends decided they wanted the best pasta in town that was 1.5 miles away but they persuaded me easily; I thought why not?! Carpe diem!
The pasta was actually the best I have ever eaten and it was a very reasonable student price. I was tooo hungry to remember to take a picture of the dish but I got The Godfather instead:
Then I got back to uni and tried to buckle down to get my lesson plan sorted for the morning lesson. This poem that I had to talk about ended up being controversial and quote simply, messed up! And only after further research and reading did I figure out that. When I tried to clarify, what I hoped was not the true meaning of the poem, to my mentor he told me very frankly that I was correct, but then asked me if I was comfortable teaching it.
I had to really think about my response. To me, this was my opportunity to test myself and see how I could deal with delivering a lesson on something I knew was going to be uncomfortable for the students and was also for me. But I found it important to also not back down because I didn’t agree with what I was teaching. It was simply a literary piece of work that had caused a lot of noise throughout its life and it was my job to show them the extent to what writing could convey.
I responded by to the email and confirm that I was fine to teach it and would continue with the lesson plan as agreed. I spent half the time at uni and the rest at home reading and planning how I was to ease my class into understanding something so complex and bizarre.
Thursday evening was the worst for em so far in my teacher training. I was so worried about the lesson I barely slept and ate at breakfast. I was hoping that by some miracle my mentor would decide he would go ahead with the lesson instead of me, but of course that wasn’t going to happen. Now that I think about it, I think the reason why he insisted on me teaching this poem was to see my delivery; how I would handle it and if I could do it well.
I went into lesson all frazzled; the printing took longer than expected and I had all my papers in a mess. Once I got to the class, the tables were all changed so I had to get the class to shift their own chairs and desks, but then that meant I was still fiddling with the paper and trying to get my powerpoint up. Once we had discussed their first impressions of the poem, I put up an outline of what the poem really meant (as most of them didn’t get it) and when that happened…the room was dead silent.
I heard a few gasps and saw their eyes widen as they took in what was written in black and white. During that silence I had to verbally still explain what I had up on the whiteboard, and that was hard. I noticed my voice become quiet and slowed down and I could feel the shock bouncing at me from all directions. Although some students quickly took it in and got on with the tasks, majority of the class were still in shock.
As I went round some students told me how they felt or asked how this poem made sense in what it was saying, but I had to remain professional and tell them that they are entitled to their opinion, but have to remember that this is the opinion of the poets, and they should simply treat it as just that.
When I had the feedback meeting for the lesson after lunch, I was told that despite the difficulties, I was brave to have tackled it. Which annoyed me because although I took the plunge, I was scared inside the whole time. To cut it short, it turned out that my subject knowledge regarding the context of the poem was limited. It had been no secret that I had not read any poetry by this poet but I made it clear again that I had managed based on research done over less than 48 hours. So we agreed to instead have me teach content that I was familiar with whilst he dealt with the uncomfortable poem and more others like it.
This was a great relief to me and I know now that I wouldn’t be put in this situation again for the year. I felt very relieved to not have to teach such content. I dodged a big bullet. And all it means is that I get to teach more GCSE students, which works fine for me.
It’s the 1st month of the Islamic calender and around the 10th day it is highly recommended that you fast for the blessings. So this weekend I spent it fasting. This just meant I couldn’t get distracted by food and could focus on all my lovely marking: