First Week Down

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-On writing this I listened to this playlist on 8tracks: Autumn Morning playlist

Well, according to ‘MyTimetable’ it’s week four, and I was assured by a member of staff that this is as discombobulating to teaching staff as it is to the students. However, administration must have their way, and so here I am at the end of my first official week at the University of Aberdeen (aka end of week four).

The week began with an almost overwhelming amount of information thrust upon us all, numerous acronyms needing to be deciphered and matched up with lectures, ‘workshops’, and many, many folders within folders on the ‘VLE’ (Virtual Learning Environment) ‘MyAberdeen’. Tutorials are referred to as workshops because I suppose this creates a more interactive, participatory environment and less of a passive learning space. We were told in the introductory lecture on Monday morning that the we are being trained mirrors the way we should try to structure learning in ‘the classroom’, and I think this will prove to be a very effective part of teacher training, learning by doing and seeing how things work in practice within our own learning as prospective teachers.

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I have enjoyed my first week, I feel that today (Sunday) I have the handle on things a little more than I did on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday when the most frustrating thing to get to grips with was the timetabling system. I will refrain from going into details at length but needless to say initial hiccups have been tweaked and tuned and (I think) all is working properly in the intricate web of the VLE. I think I have completed all the ‘TSDA’s’ (Tutor and Self Directed Activity)required for the upcoming week though I know that there are more documents available to be read, and as of yet I haven’t picked up a single book purchased a few weeks ago from the recommended reading list. *

I have met some kind, like minded people already, and realise that my transition back into studies has been far less complicated than it has been for those who, for example, found out at the last minute that they had been accepted for a place and had to up sticks and fly from Ireland three days before term started. On the first day, I met C. in our mutual ‘Professional Studies’ class and we ventured to the library to take a quick look around before exchanging phone numbers and going off to battle our own individual ‘to-do’ lists. C. and I have since been in touch regarding work for next week (ie “what do we actually have to prepare again?”) and will be in the same class on a weekly basis, so I think an ally has been made early.

We have been divided into groups, one for Professional Studies and the other for Primary Curriculum which covers across the year: Literacy and English, Mathematics, Health and Wellbeing, Science, Expressive Arts, Social Studies, Languages, RME/RMPS. I am in Group 16 for PS and Group 5 for Primary Curriculum, and it took around three hours including several emails back and forth to those in the know to figure this out.

I was a little taken aback that some of the curriculum areas such as Languages only have a few one hour time slots on the timetable next term, and that this will be sufficient teacher training to prepare us for putting it into practice in the classroom. However, this is not a criticism, and I trust in the training and also in my own initiative and professional interest that I will be capable and prepared for the classroom. I suspect the more you put into the studies at University, and the more you read and inquire when on placements then the more that will get back in return.

I am yet to spend much time on campus strolling through Old Aberdeen which really is the most picturesque part of the city, so will endeavour to do so at greater length instead of hopping in the car to drive home (the car still being the novelty of the moment-with an active focus on parallel parking needed).

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*After this is posted I will return to ‘The Origins and Development of the Curriculum for Excellence: Discourse, Politics and Control’ (Humes 2013) and keep underlining as I go with my pink ball point pen.

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