A few quick impressions/thoughts/observations from the first two weeks of being a trainee teacher. (I’ll try to be more organised and more coherent in future, particularly if anyone tells me they’re interested in reading it.)
- It’s not so bad to be back in university (plus this is my last full-time week before I’m in school at least 4 days in 5).
- I love how ‘meta’ teacher training is, when the lecturers start ‘modelling’ classroom management techniques by treating us like children.
- I’m not soon going to forget how annoying it is to have to stop conversation in a group activity just because the teacher wants your attention.
- Teacher training starts out joyfully idealistic (there’s even research on trainee teachers’ journey to jadedness).
- Our subject knowledge lecturer seems especially keen to offer us certain ideals because “nobody else will”.
- I’m keen to see how these ideals are supposed to survive contact with school policies, not to mention parents and children.
- It helps that a number of things that I’d hoped – held as articles of faith, even – turn out to be supported by research (each of these positions is simplified here: get in touch if you want to discuss more):
- Everyone can learn maths: the idea that some people “don’t have a maths brain” isn’t supported by the research. You may be less well developed (especially if you haven’t been well taught before now) but it’s not because you can’t learn.
- The neurological differences between sexes are really quite small in the grand scheme of things; almost all sex/gender-based ‘preferences’ are socialised.
- There are more significant biochemical differences, with substantial effects on behaviour. Spoilers: they don’t look good for males (although interestingly the prevalent higher level of serotonin in females is apparently being eroded by modern environmental factors).
- I have lots of tells:
- One of my colleagues (in a school maths department) recognised me as a tabletop gamer because I referred to a six-sided die as a ‘d6’.
- A trainee in a mixed group recognised me as a mathematician (see below) because I was writing in a square paper refill pad. Which I suppose is fair enough (although I originally bought the squared paper for tabletop gaming…)
- Only a minority of those in our maths group think of themselves as ‘mathematicians’. I was surprised; I’ve claimed that label since university because the outlook and way of thinking appealed to me, even though many I went to uni with were much better than me at actual maths (especially the exams).
- I thought I understood the dress code (but note to self: don’t wear a suit to Inset day), until one of my colleagues asked the head of department whether he was going to a job interview.
That’s probably it for the moment. I have a ‘applying, part 2’ in drafts, but I’m not thrilled with it, plus a “breaking/fixing WFRP’s career system” stuck in my head.