Wednesday, 5 September 2012

A Fish Out Of Water

Having laid out my clothes and packed my lunch last night, my first real decision today seemed to be a simple one: left or right. It's a fifty/fifty choice at worst. I chose badly.

Arriving absurdly early, i located the correct building and poked my head inside. There were two waiting areas, one on either side of the doorway. The area to the right was populated by small groups of PGCE students chatting amiably to one another. The one on the left was entirely empty. My choice was thus:
  • Triumph over my sense of social awkwardness, disrupt an existing conversation and ingratiate myself.
  • Sit shyly on my own and hope that a newcomer would come and talk to me.
I opted for the latter and watched the room fill up. But not a single soul came over to my side. Everyone congregated together. I was caught in a Larry Davidesque situation: swallow my pride, get up and go over to everyone else or stubbornly ride it out. Like Larry would've, i chose the latter.

It didn't get much better. I didn't speak to anyone for the whole day unless i was forced to. I'm now worried that i seem aloof or uninterested. I'm not. I'm just fucking dreadful at meeting new people. But given that i'm not shy in a classroom/lecture theatre, i'm aware that i look pretty ignorant elsewhere - it's hard to believe that someone so confident in one sphere can be so utterly useless in another. The sooner my cohort is divided into smaller, more manageable groups, the better.

I also managed to get lost, eat my lunch before 12pm and mislay my favourite (and very expensive) fountain pen. Worse of all, i'm now absolutely shitting my pants about the academic side of the course. The essays, assignments and literature reviews are something i haven't done in more than ten years - and which i did badly then. I'm aware that i'll need extra help with this stuff. But whilst i'm nervous about this, i guess others are more so when it comes to the teaching side of things. What you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts.

On the positive side, the course leaders and tutors were charismatic, dynamic and inspiring, the freebies from the unions were cracking and the course sounds absolutely brilliant. I'm sure i'll soon get into the swing of university life and my first placement (in a primary school around the corner from my house) begins tomorrow. There's a lot to be done - and a lot to look forward to.

That's it for now - i've got shitloads of papers and handouts to file!

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