Monday, 23 July 2012

Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance

If one more person tells me how hard my PGCE year will be, I’ll rip their spinal column out with my bare hands and whip them to death with it. I know how difficult it will be. I am ready for it. And I have been preparing.

Already, I’ve raced through some excellent books about teaching. Not dry academic tomes, but useful and practical guides by leading practitioners of the art of teaching. Phil Beadle’s How to Teach was absolutely magnificent, Trevor Wright’s How to Be a Brilliant English Teacher was even better. David Didau’s The Perfect Ofsted English Lesson is next on the agenda and already looks to be rammed with useful and usable ideas and tools I can use in my own classes. Rex Gibson’s guide to teaching Shakespeare is already on my bookshelf. If there are other reads you’d recommend, please let me know. 

My previous career in a secondary school has also furnished me with absolutely invaluable experience. I’ve observed two years of English teaching at every age group and ability – very few of my contemporaries will be able to boast of that much experience. And in that time, I taught dozens of lessons – and learned lessons from them. I have a good idea of what kind of teacher I’ll be and the approach I find most comfortable. I already relate well to kids and get on with them brilliantly. I’ve experienced every behavioural challenge imaginable (i’m aware that some are simply unimaginable).

I have a cache of lesson plans which I’ve already written. They’ll need to be moulded into my university’s style and adapted according to my classes, but the bones are there to be fleshed out. Time consuming planning like that for the Moon on the Tides anthology is largely done - provided my placement schools study either Relationships or Character & Voice .I’m halfway through producing a scheme of work based on a zombie apocalypse which will be the starting point for all sorts of writing tasks. There are dozens of other plans either completed or ready to be written over the next few weeks. Some of them might never see the light of day but what’s the harm in practising?

What else can I do? What else should I be doing? I’m probably ahead of the game already but I want to be over the hill and far away by the time September ticks around. Your advice, tweets and comments would be massively appreciated.


  1. Just started reading your blog (& tweeted a link to it already). I'm starting a PGCE Drama w/ English in September and am finding your posts funny, politically charged and inspiring. I had to comment on this one in particular though, just to say how much your dedication to preparation has inspired/terrified me. I am completely in awe of how much work you've already put in whilst I've been pottering around, reading a few bits. Thank you and also, I hate you.

  2. Thanks very much!

    I guess everyone prepares differently - maybe i'll need coaching out of bad habits i've already picked up? Maybe i've already gone stale!?

    Thanks for re-posting and good luck in September!