seymour skinner

seymour skinner

i’ve just booked my qts skills tests. i’m going for ict, maths then english on saturdays in october. it should be pretty straightforward. what have i learnt to teach in the last few days? science, design & technology, music, child study, ecm agenda and art. i’m getting pretty good at laughing silently (and biting the back of my hand) so when our art teacher held up ‘great examples’ of early years work – i kid you not, orange and green scrawl – and then said “sorry, its upside down”, i almost drew blood.


fridays with ron. he was on top form again and got us involved in ‘discovery’ in the morning. its his main point when teaching – he never tells us the answer to any question relating to science, trying to drill into us that a childs discovery is far more rewarding. it works. the main point of the morning was about ‘life processes’ so our tables had to devise a lesson plan from the nc. our table chose the skeleton and we did a little presentation about how we would teach ks2 (key stage 2) kids about the skeleton in an hour (that it supports, protects and something else)

the afternoon wasn’t as great. it was fun watching him go mental at a girl who suggested that interactive whiteboards make teachers lazy though. the explanation to the less it-culate (copyright) that the giant plus button on the software for the digital microscope was ‘zoom in’ got frustrating though.


i wasn’t particularly in the mood for music on monday morning. i’m normally cranky so when i came into the room and saw the chairs arranged in a circle i knew i wouldn’t be smiling till lunch. the lecturer was excellent, patrick somebody an ex-jazz musician but very helpful in telling us stuff about controlling the class, laying down rules for picking up instruments, how to sing (yep, we did), warm ups etc. although i was glad it ended (after a ‘performance’ by a few groups – read tapping on a woodblock and xylophone) his ideas were logical and i feel more confident about teaching a music class.

child study

this was a session about another piece of coursework due in february. “the purpose of this assignment is to demonstrate an understanding of child development”. we have to pick one boy and one girl “and consider their physical, intellectual, emotional and social development.” its only 6000 words and seems pretty straightforward. we aren’t allowed to use their real names of course and malcolm told us some dumbass last year named them ‘popeye’ and ‘olive’.

ecm agenda

‘every child matters’ is a big deal and relates to child safety/protection etc. this morning karen gave us some powerpoint handouts (a daily ritual) and asked us to make a bingo card on the back using words we think would be mentioned in the morning. i’ve never played ‘child abuse vocabulary bingo’ before but katie and i were pretty close to winning (we needed neglect and special needs). because i worked in social services i had heard a lot of this before but there were some gems from karen:

portsmouth has the highest teenage pregnancy rate – in europe. she then said (the rate) “goes with places with docks/ports”.

a ward in portsmouth known as ‘charles dickens’ is the most deprived in the city (the irony).

children in the heart of the city don’t know where the sea is. think about that. ports-mouth.

like you are, i was starting to question what the fuck i was doing learning to teach here. we were then given a sheet of national targets known as the ‘outcome frameworks’. did you know that there are now targets for children up to the age of 19, and from the age of 0? that’s zero. targets for a none year old. seriously.

we also talked about the fact you’re not supposed to use red pens to mark work now because of some psychological wank and some schools use green pens instead. i have to include this – karen said “green pen doesn’t do the trick either”. i had always assumed that red pen was the reason i didn’t get my neuroscience and astrophysics degrees – but maybe, its all pens. not 0/10.



there was a big tarpaulin on the floor and the afternoon was spent learning to draw in our new sketchbooks. cathy was as you might expect, a relaxed older lady. your basic art teacher, very encouraging and gave us good advice about how to get kids to draw. for example spend time talking about what you want them to draw and pointing out the lines, textures etc. i didn’t agree with her reviews of some kids work she brought along, made worse by the fact people were actually saying ‘wow’ in the class. it was a shitty picture of horse/bike/whatever – i’m sorry i can’t ‘wow’ that. we got to play with oil crayons and learnt about tone, shape, form etc. she rounded off the day by telling us how drawing, in rare cases, can be used to identify abuse in children – so it was a nice ‘circle’ from this morning.

tomorrow – literacy planning (with ‘shit sandwich’) and religious education. i can’t fucking wait for RE.


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