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Friday, 16 January 2015

Tales of a Trainee .....

Christmas, remember that? Lounging on the sofa, drinking wine, scoffing chocolates and pretending you didn’t have any marking to do? No? Me neither. It seems so long ago, but then again it all does. It’s strange to think that we set out on this journey over four months ago. Wait; let me put that in units of time a teacher can actually comprehend: that’s two half terms or seventy-four teaching days, forty-eight staff briefings, sixteen department meetings, two INSET days, one Academic Review Day and three separate bouts of the flu (data recorded before December 19th, actual figures may vary). For us trainees that means about 85 teaching hours. Have you ever heard of Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule? He reckons that the key to success in any field is to practice for a minimum of 10,000 hours. I think I’ve got numeracy across the curriculum covered for today, so you do the maths.

But then again, if you factor in everything else we have to do, we have probably already surpassed the 10,000 hour mark (there are only 8760 hours in the calendar year, not in the school year). At the moment, my TO DO list looks like this:
  •          Plan ALL lessons for next week
  •        Moderate Year 9 assessments + homework
  •         Mark Year 8 books
  •          Upload mentor minutes
  •         Complete half term targets
  •         Update ITP
  •         Read Macbeth
  •         Put post-it notes in PDP
  •        Submit pen portrait
  •         Draft job applications
  •       Get a social life

But it’s OK – I’ve seen my colleague’s list and it’s a lot longer than mine. And if I’m honest, when I was at home over Christmas, lounging on that sofa, drinking all that wine and scoffing all those chocolates, I even missed it – because I count those hours. I don’t count them down, I count them up: for every lesson I plan, for every book I mark and for every post-it note I scrawl on I know I’m learning something. I guess that for teachers the 10,000-hour mark isn’t a milestone because every hour is a milestone towards becoming a better teacher. 

Matt Irwin, School Direct Trainee, Wyvern Technology College

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