Monday, 20 May 2013

When things start to get real...

Applying to School Direct back in January seems a distant, distant memory now, it all moved so fast!  To bring you up to speed on it all if you don't know, School Direct is the new version of the GTP which is teacher training based at a school as opposed to a university.

With School Direct you apply directly to a school which is the Lead School for a group in the same area.  I heard back from my first school very quickly and headed back home to go to the interview, travelling from Lancaster to Chelmsford comes at a cost may I add!  The first stage was over 2 days, a presentation followed by some literacy and numeracy testing on one day and an interview with the training provider the next.  Having passed this stage I was then asked to teach part of a lesson the following week, another trip up and down the country!  It was all worth it though, because despite being told that I wouldn't find out until the schools had all met up in a fortnights time after the half term break I was emailed just a few hours later to say that I had got the place!  I went from first hearing about the scheme to being accepted onto it within just a few weeks!

The next thing to do were the QTS skills tests, I had 6 weeks from the date of the offer to pass them so the pressure was on.  Previously trainees have done these tests during their training year rather than beforehand and so have a few more months to get ready for them.  That said, they're not that difficult, it just means dusting off the skills from GCSE Maths and putting a few commas in the right places.  Luckily the uni right near where I live in Lancaster is a test centre so it wasn't too much fuss and I got them both out of the way with on the same day.

I've also got myself onto a Subject Knowledge Enhancement course run by the uni that will be awarding my PGCE (Note: Not all School Direct schemes lead to a PGCE, they're all different in what they offer) which means I have an online French tutorial once a week and I'll get a bursary that I wasn't expecting at the end of it, not bad!

I've been trying to get myself as prepared as I can, so as well as buying all the books they say I'm going to need, hunting down Criminal Records checks from Spain and Belgium (One being significantly easier than the other...), paying a small fortune for a doctor I've never met to sign a form to say I'm fit to teach and getting myself a week in a Primary school and a few days in a Secondary...(pause for breath!)....I've also been trying to build up a set of contacts and a load of resources that I hope are going to help me hit the ground running, I hope it's worth the effort I'm putting in!

I'd never thought that Twitter could be so useful, but I've been following the hashtag #mfltwitterati which is used by a group of languages teachers and trainee teachers to talk about issues and share resources and articles etc and it's really good!  I've discovered some real gems on Twitter recently when it comes to education related stuff, just goes to show you find things where you least expect them!

Here we are now in May and just as I was starting to think I might have dreamt it all up I've had a letter from my school inviting me to the New Staff Day in July.  I was surprised to get it as I'm not technically their staff, but I'm really looking forward to it!  I don't know much about the way it's all going to work yet though in terms of days in school / at uni and all that sort of stuff, I have to spend 2 weeks in Canterbury in August though so hopefully I'll find it all out then!

As I'm nearing the end of my time at Lancaster things are getting real with what is coming next!  Scary yet really exciting!

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