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Meet our graduates

Find out how 2 of our students are progressing through their SCITT year

Myra Samra

When did you decide to become a teacher?

From the age of 6, I always knew teaching was the path I wanted to take. I completed my NVQ Level 3 in Childcare and Education at JFS and then went on to study a BA(Hons) at the University Of Birmingham in Childhood, Culture and Education.

Why did you choose LSJS?

I had always planned on doing a PGCE in primary education but I wanted a year of good solid experience before applying for a course. I was fortunate enough to spend a year working as a teaching assistant of a reception class at Hertsmere Jewish Primary School (HJPS). I met many great teachers there who shared their experiences with myself. Many of the teachers at HJPS are LSJS graduates and therefore I had an extremely detailed insight into what the course would consist of and what would be expected of me .

Tell us about your first month:

The first weeks were focused on getting to know our tutors and the people on the course. Whilst I had some worries – what would the other students be like? What would the work load be like? (I had heard that it is an extremely intense year), I very much enjoyed my time . It was great getting to know and socialise with the other students and hear about their experiences prior to the course. It was interesting to see the breadth of backgrounds, every person had their own experiences and educational background and I think that is something which is very special.

I am currently doing my first placement in Reception at Mathilda Marks. I am very happy here and am in the process of working my way through my weekly tasks and preparing for the upcoming weeks. For those who are thinking of applying for the SCITT course, I would say that it definitely opens up many doors and I am excited to learn and develop more as a young professional in my future placements throughout the year.

 

Tell us about your first school placement:

I have been at Mathilda Marks now for just over a month. My time here so far has been great. All the teachers have been so welcoming and helpful this past month. I have found that the work has built up and I have been and still am trying my best to keep on top of all the work outside placement as well as the tasks we are required to complete in placement.

I spend each morning in Reception and some of the afternoons too. I have some time for self-study in the afternoon, whereby I plan lessons for my reception class. I also try to complete as many in schools tasks as possible. For each week, there are a number of tasks you are required to complete. An example of a task could be to visit another year group e.g. year 2 and observe a core subject being taught. This requires you to write up an observation (the template for this is provided by LSJS) on the teacher you are observing. It’s extremely useful in not only developing ideas for teaching different subjects but it allows you to see how other teachers tackle subjects and the way they deliver it to their class. Other tasks include attending school assemblies, annotating several of the schools policies, arranging meetings with subject coordinators. My mentor has been extremely supportive and also very helpful.

I have been observed teaching a numeracy lesson on measuring height to a class of 30 pupils. My observation went well and I was very pleased. I have also been observed carrying out a literacy activity relating to Noah’s ark (our topic of the week). After each observation you are required to fill out an evaluation form on how well you think you did as well as arranging a time to discuss your lesson with your mentor. Each trainee is assigned a mentor whose role is to come into the placement they are working at and observe them teaching their class. I am due to be observed next week teaching phonics and I am currently preparing for that. I do feel slightly nervous for my observation, however having been observed by my school mentor has helped! My feedback allows me to see which areas I need to improve on and which I do well at.

Another trainee from the LSJS programme is in year 6 at Mathilda Marks. I didn’t realise how helpful it would be to have another trainee in the same placement. In the afternoons, the other trainee and I are normally working in the same room, so we are able to support each other with the tasks and make sure we are both on track! I spend most of my evenings making sure I am keeping on top of everything and preparing for the next day ahead. We also have work to complete in Maths, English etc. set by our lecturers.

I am really enjoying my week back at LSJS socialising with the trainees! It is also a great oppertunity to catch up with everyone and hear about their experiences in their current placements. Although there is a lot of work to be put in during the time we spend at placement and college, I am thoroughly enjoying myself and look forward to what the next few months have to offer!

 

Third Blog: 23.12.14

I am writing this blog after completing my first school placement. The past two months have been extremely intense but very rewarding. I taught several lessons a week at Mathilda Marks and was being observed on a regular basis. There was a lot of work put in to each lesson taught and as always a lot of paper work to be completed before and after. I found myself working most evenings whilst I was on placement. This included completing any tasks to ensure they were ready to be given in to my tutor at university, preparing for the lessons I was going to teach and thoroughly preparing for my observed lessons. In the past two months, I have really had the opportunity to get to know my reception class very well. I came to realise that every child really is unique and how important it is that the lessons which I plan are able to cater to meet these children’s needs. I had many more encounters with the reception parents which were all pleasant. As I began to teach more, I had a lot less time out of the classroom. This meant that I would have more work to do when I got home each evening. One of the SCITT requirements is to be able to teach systematic synthetic phonics. For the past month, I have been teaching it every day. I have also been observed teaching phonics by both my mentor and tutor.

I have done well on my first placement and all the hard work has paid off. At the end of each placement, your mentor is asked to complete a report covering the different areas of teaching e.g. values and behaviour, personal and professional conduct, teaching etc. You are able to sit with your mentor and go through the report they have written on you. This gives you the opportunity to comment on anything which you feel is unfair or that you disagree with. Once the report has been written and discussed between mentor and student it is then sent to your tutor at the LSJS. Your mentor will grade you on your first school experience with one of the following: unsatisfactory, satisfactory, good or very good. As a student, you are also asked to complete a report on your experience which should feed into your mentor report.

For the past week and a half, we have all been back at LSJS for lectures. It has been great seeing everyone and sharing our experiences after an extremely busy first term!

Many of the lecturers have gone into further detail with their topics, introduced the assignments and set work for over the winter holidays. All the work, which we have carried out in our first placement, has been filed and organised into a folder. Lesson plans, observations, evaluations, tracking of children, tasks etc all need to be accessible for your tutors to see. This is due to be checked and ticked off by our teachers on the first week back after the holidays.

SCITT  students are not yet aware of which school they will be attending for their second placement but everyone is waiting eagerly to hear in the next term! For the first few weeks of January we attend lectures and then we have the privilege of spending two weeks in a multicultural school which I am sure will be a great learning opportunity.

  

Fourth Blog: After the Placement in a Multicultural School

I have just completed my placement in a multicultural school where I spent just over a week. I was placed in Edgware Primary School along with 3 other SCITT students. All my experience to date has been in Key Stage 1, therefore finding out I was going to be spending my time in KS2 made me feel quite worried! The 3 trainees and I were placed in different classes. Two of the girls were working in the nursery and reception and myself another trainee were put in separate year 3 classes.

When I arrived at the school, I was surprised to see how big it was. We received a tour of the school upon arrival and immediately we all felt welcome and comfortable. Edgware Primary School has over 650 pupils and is 3- form entry. All the staff were very friendly and supportive throughout the week.

Before starting this placement I was adamant that I only ever wanted to teach reception. However, having been in year 3 I have grown to really enjoy it. The pupils were so eager to learn, so well behaved and always curious. The class teacher I was working with took his time to talk to me about the running of the school, the pupils in the school and the behaviour management approach adopted by Edgware Primary.

During placement we were expected to complete several tasks clearly outlined for us in a booklet. The majority of pupils at Edgware Primary School are in the process of acquiring English or speak English as an additional language. The tasks set included observing a phonics, science and numeracy lesson, paying particular attention to how the teachers cater for the EAL pupils. Other tasks included observing pupils in a whole class scenario and teaching one lesson that was to be observed by the class teacher. My lesson focused on producing an original ending to a story. The lesson went well and the feedback I received was positive as well as helpful for planning future lessons.

I had the privilege of being able to observe many lessons and pick up on useful and effective teaching strategies. The experience I had at this school was exceptionally different to having worked in only Jewish schools. This was mainly due to the interesting places children had come from and the overall running of the school. Although my time spent at the school was only short, it has certainly been an excellent learning experience and has even made me consider working in KS2 in the future!

 

Final Blog  – 24.07.15

Since writing my last entry a lot has happened over the past few months. After completing second school placement we had a well deserved 2 week break. Of course we were all entitled to relax, however we still had 2 essays, which needed to be done. One was a Jewish Studies essay and one an English assignment. When we returned from our break we attended lectures for a few weeks where they tried to prepare us for our final teaching practice. Without doubt most of the people on the course were very nervous about teaching full time independently. I certainly felt worried about how I was going to cope with all that was required of me. When I started my final placement at Mathilda Marks in reception, I spent the first 2 weeks just becoming familiar with the children’s routine, their abilities and the responsibilities, which were very soon to be mine. We were required to teach for a full 6 weeks. The night before it all began I remember feeling extremely panicked. What if I get something wrong? How am I going to remember everything that needs to be done? Thankfully I was lucky enough to return to what was my first placement. My mentor was amazing and she prepared me well before teaching full time. She explained to me exactly what I needed to do, how to change the reading books, what to remember etc. Other individuals that had completed the course told me that it will make much more sense to you when you start teaching. My first time to plan a full week of lessons was quite daunting and I wasn’t really sure where to start. Once I completed my first week everything made much more sense. It’s one of those things where the pieces fall together when you’re in the zone of teaching. I became much more familiar with what each child needed, what I wanted the TAs to do, which lessons to plan next etc. The 6 weeks of teaching were extremely intense. Apart from delivering lessons I had to write the weekly newsletter for reception, set homework, change the reading books, assess the children’s work and ensure I kept on top of everything. The TAs in my class were amazing and they helped me to manage my time and work. My mentor would observe me once a week and I was observed by my SCITT professional tutor twice during my practice.

Alongside the teaching full time, we were required to complete our task booklet and of course upload evidence for our teaching standards. I found it useful in speaking to the other individuals on the course to see how they were managing their time. I think the key to doing well in final placement is to be organised and consistent. Be aware of what you need to do each day and write a list so you don’t forget. Take each day as it comes…

During the times that I found it overwhelming my mentor supported me where she could. It became a lot easier as the weeks went on and the weekly planning finally made sense! My plans had to be sent in to my mentor in advance so she could ensure they were appropriate.

I learnt so much from my final teaching practice and it gave me a real idea as to how my life as a class teacher will be as of September!

There was no better feeling than making it to graduation day! Everyone’s family and friends came along and the atmosphere was amazing. All that hard work had finally paid off!

"I learnt so much from my time on the SCITT course and it gave me a real idea as to how my life as a class teacher will be as of September 2015!"

Gila Frankel

Tell us about your first week in a school placement:

Arriving on the first day, any pre-placement worries quickly faded and I was so excited to be back in the bustling school environment where I could begin to put all that I’d been learning into action.

My first week on placement was fantastic. The staff were all incredibly friendly; my mentor was so patient and helpful and I felt very at home and quickly settled in. As my mentor introduced me to all the teachers as her SCITT Trainee, it was great to hear how many of them had also done SCITT and lived to tell the tale! Throughout the week, I spent time getting to know the school rules, routines, policies, staff and most importantly, the children. I learnt so much from observing both my secular and JS mentors and got some really good hands on experience- taking the register, assisting with break duty and taking different groups within the class. Overall it was a great non-pressurised week that energised me, gave me confidence and excited me for the rest of the experience…

Observations

On my first school experience, I was observed on numerous occasions. Although originally I was very nervous for these, I found that they were essential to my development as a teacher. Before every observation, my mentor and I went through the lesson I had planned to ensure that I was confident and ready to go. Then it was camera, lights, action! The scariest part to being observed was the beginning- literally saying the first few words! After that, I got straight into the role of the teacher and to a large extent, it was easy to forget that I was being observed.

Following each observation, my mentor and I (and if my professional tutor was present, he too) would sit and discuss the aspects of the lesson that worked really well and the areas for development. This was incredibly helpful- firstly as it gave me a confidence boost in the areas I was doing well and made me feel great and perhaps most importantly, highlighted the areas I could improve. In a way, I enjoyed hearing constructive criticism the most. My mentor always made sure that her feedback was practical and on most occasions, I came away from my feedback sessions, enthused for my next observation where I could put all advice into action!

Although observations can be daunting, I would say that they are perhaps the most important part of a teacher’s training. Active learning is always the most productive!

The Atmosphere at LSJS

Being at the LSJS is just great! Such a lovely atmosphere always! Although the best part of the course has got to be on placement- in action, I really love being at the LSJS, spending time with fellow students and expanding my knowledge and ideas in the lectures. Especially after a placement, everyone is gushing and has so much to share. It’s incredible to hear how everyone has such different and unique experiences and everyone comes with so many new ideas to share.

1 year, full-time

SCITT - School Centred Initial Teacher Training (Primary)

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Rabbinic Training Programme

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London School of Jewish Studies

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Susi Bradfield Educational Leadership Programme

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Contact

London School of Jewish Studies
Schaller House
Wohl Campus for Jewish Education
44a Albert Road
London
NW4 2SJ
   020 8203 6427
E    info@lsjs.ac.uk

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