Sunday, 20 December 2015

PGCE - November and December

I decided to combine posts on November and December into one blog entry as it felt like a continuous period of time! So since my last entry I have been on my first placement in a fairly local school to me. I can't name the school for obvious reasons, but I've really been enjoying myself. I'm there until the end of January, where I'll be starting my second placement aswell as putting on an exhibition in the spring at university. I don't want to leave! Its been really full on but enjoyably so.
So to start off my placement, I spent the first couple of weeks observing the other teachers teaching lessons and making notes on this. I filled up an entire folder of notes in fact, there was alot to do. The school is very different to the one I went to, but I like it.
Once a week throughout the placement I have a meeting with my mentor in the school to discuss my progress, and the same with my professional studies mentor who arranges sessions where we study/talk about wider school issues. During the early stages of my placement I spent alot of time getting to know the students and the other teachers which went well. I'm still being mistaken for a sixth former, despite taking lots of classes and wearing staff ID...
Anyway, after the October half term and several weeks of getting to know the school it was time to do some teaching.

I did some team teaching with my subject mentor and a few introductory solo lessons in the beginning, such as working with Yr 10 on their coursework. I particularly enjoyed helping a boy produce linoprint flowers which so far is one of my favourite pieces.
 
I then began to work with Yr 7 classes, getting to know how they work and how they behave. Theyre a very, very chatty bunch but theres some good artists in there. At this point in my teaching 'career' shall we say, they don't quite see me as a teacher as such and therefore don't behave aswell as they should (although my mentor is adament they do see me as a teacher ;p) Anyway, we started off our lessons together by looking at composition of objects, and some of them were very illustrator-y which made me pleased !
 

I then was told to begin writing a scheme of work for the Yr 7s on African Masks. I had to plan out for 8 lessons and consider differentiation, assessment for learning, homework, you name it. I bought several African masks, got hold of good library books and made a whole lot of photocopies of colourful masks for the kids to look at. To start off, I got them to produce their own designs on a template, using a reference sheet of African textures and patterns:
In the second lesson I got them to draw in black and white only with charcoal or graphite. They had to draw African masks from a range of visual resources on hand, and they seemed to enjoy this! They produced several studies each during the 1 hour lesson. I've made sure to put these up on the wall for display in their classroom.
 
In their latest lessons they've been working with collage to produce African masks. This was not as straightforward as you'd think. It was quite hard to get the kids to understand that they were making texture and pattern and not just picking random objects out of magazines to stick down! We spent two lessons on these collages, and by the second lesson I'd made it quite clear that they should be looking for textures and colours, and that they should be trying to think about symmetry and repetition. I think they did quite well! Although I must say, collage lessons are very, very messy. This lesson happened to be the one my university tutor came down from London to see and assess! It went well, even if I did have to deal with a few disruptive students :/ .....by the end of the lesson I was quite stressed!
Currently I am working on a number of things....a Year 9 scheme of work, a Year 8 scheme of work, the Henry Ward project and my school based studies with my professional studies mentor. I am also still working on my masters unit which goes with the PGCE. I'd like to add however that even though I'm very busy and doing lots of work, I'm still less stressed than I was when I was doing my degree at Camberwell. The only difference is that I have no lie-ins during the week, I'm up at 5am everyday and dont get home til nearly 6pm. Although its not all tough, I was invited to a Christmas meal with the art department and took part in the secret santa which was great :) I'm enjoying it, and hope I can say the same come the end of January!

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