Week 3 - School Placement 1
Non-core lesson plans x3
Gaeilge lesson plans x5
15min Gaeilge recorded lesson
IFD for next week's lessons
I've just finished my last IFD of placement and, with that, my last weekend of placement. Looking forward to having my weekends back...and also my kitchen table!
This week was tough. There's things I wish I had done differently now, but I'm taking it as a big learning experience and I know that I'll use these learnings when it comes to my next school placement. I'm reminding myself that the purpose of school placement is to learn - we're student teachers, our job is to learn and improve!
It really ate up time this week trying to get familiar with the Primary Language Curriculum for Irish, and researching the structure of Irish lessons. They're structured a bit differently from the other subjects and, having only had to write one before now, it took some getting used to! Not least of all because we also had to figure out how to structure a week of lessons that all linked together. I definitely feel like I'm getting better and quicker at writing up non-core lesson plans, so at least I can see that it does get easier the more familiar you get with the curriculum.
I didn't discover until Wednesday, the day before submission, that you could view Primary School books on edco.ie. Not only do they give you an idea of the sort of language and level the children are at, but the accompanying Teacher books also suggest language exemplars and learning objectives for lessons. That will definitely help with future Irish planning!
I ended up staying up until 5am on Thursday morning working on Irish plans. I was just doubting myself so much as to whether I was doing them properly. Needless to say I was exhausted for the rest of the day and found it very hard to muster to energy to get cracking on the recorded lesson!
The recorded lesson was definitely the biggest learning, as it was my first time teaching as Ghaeilge. I definitely found myself a bit tongue-tied as I was being overly conscious of only using language that the children would understand. If I were to do it again, I would speak more freely as I think I should have talked more - children need to be hearing the language in order to improve.
The other learning was about not over complicating things. There was a lot going on in the video between baking and teaching Irish, particularly for my first time doing it, and I felt the baking distracted me from the teaching. I've learnt that there's nothing wrong with a simple lesson idea if you execute it well.
I'm looking forward to getting into my Maths plans next week. The planning for them on the IFD took the entire day but I'm happy with the plan that I've laid out! It was mainly challenging because my class is multi-grade (3rd & 4th class) and, unlike the other subjects, the Maths curriculum has different strand units for all classes. In the other subjects they are generally grouped by junior/senior, 1st/2nd, 3rd/4th and 5th/6th.
I didn't really know how to approach this, how do you teach the one class two different things? Do you do this for all Maths classes? How do you structure a class where each half of the class are working on different things?
I'm still figuring out the answers to those questions, but I ended up choosing the strand Chance as there's a lot of overlap. This document from the PDST was invaluable in outlining how Chance can be taught. Let's see how I get on next week!
I've been thinking a bit about burnout this week. I will definitely need to take better care of myself on future placements, and indeed once I'm qualified. I haven't left my house these past fe weeks, and have been glued to my desk from morning to night. The effort to make everything as perfect as possible, double and triple checking everything, working non-stop right up until the submission deadline...whilst it might produce brilliant work the first few weeks, it's not sustainable. This experience has taught me to pace myself in future - it's a marathon, not a sprint!
Tomorrow is a new week, and I'm looking forward to putting all my learnings from the past few weeks into this final week!