Category Archives: Personal

Hello…

Hello,

Yes, I’m alive, and I’m breaking my 7-month (7 months?!) streak of no blogging tonight. I just decided to write after I saw somebody  had liked my Facebook page tonight, even with the lack of posting. Whoever you are, thank you for inadvertently spurring me to post.

Where have I been? Well, from the Summer till now, I’ve been reading for Uni, applying for work experience (expect a blog post with advice on that – it took me 4 attempts this year to gain some work experience, which I just finished at the start of this month), starting to learn to drive, attending Uni classes, being a Student Representative for my course, working on my confidence by joining kickboxing classes, and just generally going about life. It’s the last week of the semester at my University this week, so I guess now is a good time to post.

I think part of the problem I’ve been having with blogging (and even interacting with other blogs/ bloggers by commenting) is that I tend to overthink: is what I’m writing any good? Does it contribute anything? Then I think, ‘Nope, it doesn’t, leave it for now and come back later when you’re not so busy/ you have something worth saying.’ I guess it is both helpful and unhelpful to think  that way, so I’m just pushing through by writing this. Maybe in the future I’ll write more spontaneously.

That’s all I have to say for now, but if you’ve read this, thank you!

Jessica

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One Year

Hi there!

A year ago today, I started this blog. I’ve written fifteen posts (with multiple planned and draft posts – I really need to finish those!) since then, on a variety of topics related to education in some way. This isn’t a lot, compared to what some fantastic bloggers  do, but I’m proud that I managed to write them anyways. It’s been an interesting year:

  • I made a Twitter account for my blog, which allowed me to connect with some interesting bloggers and educators. It always surprises and excites me when somebody comments on my blog, or keeps up-to-date with me via my blog/ Twitter/ Facebook page, or replies to or re-tweets one of my tweets. I appreciate it. Tweets and Twitter chats always prove thought-provoking, and help me to consider what I might do as a teacher.

 

  • I started to consider postgraduate options other than going straight to do a PGCE after I finish final year. I still want to complete teacher training, but I have been thinking about whether I want to do an MA in English or an MA in TESOL before, or after, I’ve gained QTS. It doesn’t help that I get enthusiastic about a lot of different things, and a conversation at a Postgraduate Open Day I attended (there will be a blog about Open Days to come!) left me wondering about doing a PhD, for the second time in my life.

 

So what’s coming up? Well, apart from blog posts, I turn twenty next month, and in two months’ time I will finish my second year of University!  I’ll also be choosing my modules (classes) for third year, discussing my dissertation idea(s), and writing my personal statement for post-graduate courses. Exciting and nerve-wracking times.

Have a great day!

Jessica

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Are you celebrating a milestone in blogging, or a milestone in education? I’d love to hear from you!

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New Year’s Resolutions

Hello!

I hope you are all doing well, and have enjoyed the festive break.

2015 has been a tumultuous year. For me, some of the major education-related points have been:

  • I started this blog nine months ago
  • I passed my first year of University
  • I completed a leadership course
  • I met some amazing people, in real life, and through social media (education chats on Twitter are wonderful).

Since we are now at the end of the year, some of you might be making New Year’s resolutions. I thought to share mine on here with you, as they all relate in some way to education or aspirations:

1). Keep maintaining work/ life balance.

A resolution I made for 2015, that will be ever important for my health.

2). Organise work experience.

Another resolution I made for 2015, and one that is necessary if I am to apply for teacher training. I have already done some work experience in schools, but I need to do more (and I love it).

3). Organise a mental health awareness event.

I started making plans for this with some friends at University, and I am determined that we get this done in 2016. We need understanding about mental health (and a variety of other issues).

4). Wear my inspirational necklace every day.

Now, this might seem a bit of a strange resolution, but my parents bought me a beautiful necklace that reminds me to never give up on my dreams. So, in wearing that, there will be at least one positive reminder every day.

5). Keep learning Turkish.

As you may know, I started learning Turkish in the Summer, and I intend to keep learning it. Currently, I listen to Turkish music more often than I actively learn the language, but I received a wonderful Turkish phrasebook/ dictionary at Christmas, which is bound to keep me ever-fascinated.

6). Write my personal statement for teacher training applications.

It is very exciting, and scary, to think that I will be applying for teacher training this year. I look forward to completing this resolution!

7). Keep blogging on education.

Of course! I intend to blog here for many years to come. I’ve met some wonderful educators through it (and through its social media).

8). Do the ‘Thank You/ I Love…’ post on Facebook every week.

This is separate to my blog, but on my personal Facebook a few week ago I decided to start writing a ‘Thank you/ I love…’ status every week, just to show appreciation to the people in my life, and spread some positivity. Everybody deserves recognition.

9). Learn about different faiths, cultures, and languages.

I’ve always been curious about the way people lead their lives, and I like to learn and be open-minded. I will apply for a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) course, and when I decided this, I thought to myself, ‘You know, if you’re going to teach the English language, wouldn’t it be interesting if you learnt at least a few words/ phrases of the non-English languages that the people you know speak?’

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That’s my New Year’s resolutions. What are yours? I look forward to hearing from you, and I hope you have an amazing 2016!

Jessica

 

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Equality and Diversity

Hello!

I have finished my first semester of second year studying BA English at University, and how fascinating a time it was. It is quite astounding that I am halfway through my degree now… I have three essays to write over Christmas, and I am going to read ahead for next semester, in addition to numerous other things, but you will also be seeing me here more, hopefully!

Tonight, I wanted to write a short post on an issue I hold strong beliefs about: equality and diversity.

I have always had an interest in learning about, or observing, the way other people lead their lives. Not in a pesky or overbearing way, but just a simple curiosity, because I like to understand people. For example, in my secondary school they created a multi-faith room (whilst I was doing my A-Levels in their Sixth Form) and it was, to me, the most beautiful room in the whole place. It was wonderful to know that those who were religious could practice their religion there, as well as any other place they ordinarily attended. The room was also open to those who were not religious. This room of respect was, and is, rather inspirational.

Another source of inspiration was my holiday this summer, where I found hearing calls to prayer and the Turkish language beautiful. Once I returned from my holiday, I started to research CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) courses. Why? I researched these courses because I am sure it can be overwhelming, and alienating, for people who go to a country where the primary language used is English and they do not know it well. I want to be one of the people who help stop the alienation. (I might even try to learn some words and/ or phrases of some of the other languages I am sure to come across in my future career, because why should I not try? I will create an atmosphere of positivity, of acceptance, in whatever way I can.)

This aspiration applies to so many other areas too, areas that should not cause us to make assumptions about other people:

  • race
  • age
  • sexuality
  • religion
  • language
  • social status
  • culture
  • education
  • disability
  • family history, etc.

Such a statement is very optimistic, given how many opinions and assumptions we hear/ read every day, but I believe in it. Everybody is an individual, and deserve to be treated as such. We need to try to discover somebody for themselves, and not who we think they may be.

These values of equality and toleration are just two values I hope to promote when I become a teacher, amongst my students, my colleagues, and other people I know (though I already do it).

We need to care for each other, because we are all human.

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Jessica

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Filed under Career Planning, Education, Languages, Personal, PSHE, Religious Education

Can/ Should Holidays be Learning Opportunities?

Hello,

I have finally returned to blogging – hooray! I’m sorry for the absence, it’s been a busy few months, but as things are starting to wind down this term now, I should hopefully be able to blog more.

Today, I thought I would blog on a debate that has often raged in education: can, or should, holidays be opportunities to learn? In my opinion, I agree that yes, holidays can be opportunities to learn, though whether they should be depends upon what sort of learning is being advocated.

Of course, revising for exams and reading material to keep up-to-speed with classes is important if you’re a student; and learning about new mark schemes, syllabi, and methods of teaching is important if you’re a teacher. What isn’t constructive though is when you ‘breeze’ through these tasks, i.e. you do them to get them done, not really caring if you can only recall bits of information here and there. That sort of approach is likely to make you feel disaffected, and maybe even stress you out when it comes to the time where you have to draw on your knowledge, because you tell yourself (consciously or sub-consciously) your task is going to be boring. You might ‘breeze’ because you want to relax, which is perfectly understandable, but it won’t help your learning or relaxation in the long-run.

On the other hand, what if you do the work straight away/ quickly, because you’re excited by it? That’s great, you’re more likely to learn something, but maybe take some time to review it later. If you leave it for six weeks, you might forget some things, and it might make it harder to get back into the ‘flow’ of term-time. I remember how, after the summer holidays, me and some of my classmates (in primary and secondary school) would comment on how our handwriting felt a lot slower than it did before the holidays, because we didn’t write at speed in the holidays as we did in class. It would take some time to get used to it again!

The above concerns what I call formal learning. Now, I’m going to relate a personal experience of formal and informal learning on holiday. As you may know, I visited Turkey in the Summer for a holiday, and I took fiction and poetry books for University with me. Now, I’m not advocating that you take work on holiday with you for formal learning, but I did because:

1). It would be near the end of August when I came home, and I didn’t want to be stressing about trying to get lots of reading done in advance for University starting in mid-September.

2). I’m a Literature student, and I love reading! So, my reading would be both entertainment, and helpful preparation (how very reminiscent of a Horatian phrase…).

I ‘relaxed’ too though: I went swimming in the pool, I went out into the town, etc. What really captivated my attention though was the Turkish language and culture. This was cue for me to start informally learning Turkish, which I found gloriously different to English, my first language.

I arrived home missing Turkey, and anticipating the next time I could visit. What have I done since then? Well…

1). I bought a Turkish language textbook with CD in order to learn the language to an intermediate level (it was the highest level I could find, though I would like to become fluent).

2). I started listening to Turkish music. I love it, and try to listen to some every day. I even sang a bit of a song to my friends in the library one time, which rather amused them.

3). I have researched a little bit into Turkish culture and history.

4). Looked up how to make lavash (balloon bread). One of my friends also told me there’s a Turkish restaurant not far from where I live either – I cannot explain how much I want to go. Perhaps I can practice my Turkish there?!

5). Became extremely excited when I found out that, in one of my modules at University, I would be studying Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s Turkish Embassy Letters from the 18th century. We only looked at two of the letters, but I intend to read them all over the Christmas holiday for fun. Yes, really – fun. I started looking for other Turkish literature too.

6). Researched TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) courses. I was so inspired by learning Turkish on holiday, that I thought, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be great if you could help people speak English, in addition to teaching literature?’

Basically, my holiday kick-started a complete fascination with a country’s customs, culture, language, food, and history. I didn’t set out to learn, and I never expected my holiday to ignite such curiosity (though I am an inquisitive person, so perhaps I should have expected this of myself).

Therefore, I conclude that holidays can be learning opportunities, opening your mind up to things you never previously considered. Learning should always be encouraged, though in what form, how much, and when it takes place, all depends on the needs and desires of the individual concerned.

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Now I want to hear from you, please: where do you stand on the debate? Do you have any experiences where you have learnt inadvertently?

I look forward to reading your responses!

Jessica

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A New Academic Year!

Hello!

I’m sorry for the lack of blog posts during August and the beginning of September. ‘What have you been doing?’, you may cry. Well…

  • I was writing a blog post about a Teaching and Learning conference I attended in July, but I wasn’t sure how much to put into it. It started becoming essay-length, and I thought ‘Is that really effective for a blog post? Should I break it up into two parts, or is that redundant giving you would be posting them consecutively? People don’t want to get bored reading, and you don’t want them to miss the detail of this inspiring event.’ So I mused, and I meant to take my notes for it on holiday to finish it off. Once I was on holiday, I thought, ‘I’ll finish my blog post’, and then I realised I had forgotten my notes – bad blogger! I did have advanced reading for University though (yes, I took books to read for class on holiday with me)…
  • In early August, I spent a good deal of time promoting my blog posts about A-Level Results Day on Facebook and Twitter. I was determined to help as many students as I could, and some lovely people helped me spread the word – a massive thank you to them!
  • I went on holiday to Turkey. This was my first time visiting Turkey, and I was truly amazed by it: the people were friendly, and the culture was fascinating (at different points of the day, I could hear the call to prayers, which was wonderful to hear). I also started learning Turkish for fun, because I found the language so intriguing. I’m determined to become fluent, and I can’t express the excitement I felt when my language book arrived through the post!
  • I’ve been getting ahead on reading for University. I didn’t have to, but now I feel so prepared, which hopefully makes for some less stressful weeks in the first semester.
  • I’m a Student Representative for my course, and in July I asked my fellow students what I was doing well, and what I could do better for them. The people who replied left me some really lovely comments, and as a result of that conversation I’m organising at least a couple of things, including a fundraising event next week!
  • Generally supporting people, including my friends and new students to the University.
  • Joining in education chats on Twitter, which is rather fun and inspiring!
  • Planning blog posts
  • I did a four-day leadership course through my University from the 7th-10th of September. This was truly inspiring as well (it even involved a visit to a primary school), and it made me realise something: I don’t want to be a teacher anymore, I need to be, in order to help future students. In combination with my holiday in Turkey, my teaching aspirations also expanded, and I want to undertake a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) course. I’m not sure which course to do, though two lovely people gave me advice, and when to do it, but the goal is there!

So that’s what I’ve been doing. I start the second year of my undergraduate English course tomorrow, which makes me so excited! I will finish the Teaching and Learning conference blog post and publish it by the end of next week – hopefully, I will do the conference justice!

What have you been up to this Summer? Are you starting a new academic year, or have you already started? Leave a comment below, and I will reply as soon as I can.

I hope you all have an amazing week!

Jessica

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I’ve just realised I’ve had this blog for 6 months now. Here is to many more months (and years) of blogging on ‘Teaching Aspirations’!

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A Friendship Between the Sciences and the Arts?

Hello,

As you may know, I study English at University. I study it because it is one of my favourite subjects, but when I was originally looking for University courses I looked for Physics courses, because I love that subject too. This has struck people as rather unusual in the past, and it might strike you the same, but I love those subjects (I was so happy to find a book about Science and Literature a few weeks ago), and I find they cross over in some respects. Now some of you that just read that last clause may think, ‘Nope, you can’t mix Science and Art. They’re too different. At school I hated Science, but I loved Art as I got to be creative, etc.’ Well I want to explain to you my view: Science is as much of an Art, as Art is as much of a Science.

The Sciences are stereotypically seen as the logical, ‘cold’ subjects where you use lots of numbers, formulae and experiments, and the Arts are seen as free, imaginative and emotionally ‘warm’. I challenge these stereotypes. Yes, of course you use numbers and experiments in the Sciences, but does it not take imagination to come up with a scientific theory? Do you not need the ability to write concisely yet eloquently, a skill practiced in the subject of English? Alternatively, let us consider English and Art: indeed, both are very creative subjects, but do they not require planning, logicality and expertise? Can they not be reviewed with a critical, ‘cold’ eye?

I have come across both students and teachers who say they love one subject and hate the other, and that is perfectly okay, as it would be a shame if people did not express their opinions. What I find sad though is that maybe nobody said to them, ‘why do we not look at this subject you “hate” in a way you understand or prefer, so that maybe you could enjoy it a little too?’

That being said, there is a secondary school Science teacher, Rob Wilkinson, who uses some of his original art in his work. You can check out his work over on the Facebook page, ‘Rob Wilkinson Art’.

He creates some pretty cool images, doesn’t he? I think they are very visually striking, and creations such as those in the ‘School worksheets, pen & ink.’ album might be fun aids to help students learn and recall information, and even inspire them (please do not use any images without the artist’s permission – it would be copyright infringement otherwise). What I also love about them is that they make a deliberate link between Art and Science – hopefully the students will be able to realise how wonderfully the two disciplines can work in co-operation, and start to make more links between them.

This hope is something I want to realise when I become a teacher, so that maybe students can learn to enjoy both, and as a result do better in both (even if they still prefer one over the other). We need to develop a friendship between the Sciences and the Arts for the love of learning. A friendship can exist, but nothing will come to fruition if we do not try to help it do so. ______________________________________________________

What do you think about the divide between the Arts and Sciences? Were/ Are you a student who greatly preferred one discipline over the other? Let me know what you think, I would love to hear from you.

Have a nice day,

Jessica

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Filed under Art and Design, Education, English, Personal, Science

A Little Update

Hello

Just a quick update tonight. You may have noticed that ‘Teaching Aspirations’ has a lovely new banner at the top of the page (the banner is also on my Facebook and Twitter pages, along with an excellent logo). These images were created for me to use (and I asked permission again, to make sure I could use them) by the amazing and lovely Stephanie Gallon, blogger extraordinaire. Thank you, Stephanie! You can view her blog, here: https://stephanieanngallon.wordpress.com/.

I also want to say thank you to you, all of the people who have ever read my blog, are reading it now, or will read it in the future. I really appreciate it.

Jessica

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A Short Guide to Results Day and Clearing (a Video Blog)

Hello,

I thought I would try something a bit different today and post a video blog.

Let me know what you think please.

EDIT: I did not want to overwhelm you with too much information in the video, and I was awaiting permission to mention this (I have now gained permission), but I also used the Exam Results Helpline a day after Results Day, when I was still upset about my results and feeling unsure. They are a free service who offer impartial advice to students about their results. I messaged them via their Facebook page, but you can also ring them on 0808 100 8000. Additionally, they have a Twitter page, which is also helpful for keeping yourself up-to-date with them. I hope this information proves helpful to you, along with the video below.

Jessica

Disclaimer: I was not paid to mention the Exam Results Helpline, I just thought it might be helpful to mention it, because a student reading this could end up using it.

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Seven Songs for Motivation

Hello,

A short and fun first post for today, I thought I would share with you seven songs that comprise part of my motivational playlist. Hopefully, some of these songs should make you determined to work and achieve the results you want to achieve!

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‘Dreamer’ – Livin’ Joy

‘She Bangs the Drums’ – The Stone Roses

‘Running Up That Hill’ – Kate Bush

‘Things Can Only Get Better’ – D:Ream

‘Move On Up’ – Curtis Mayfield

‘Dreams’ – The Cranberries

‘I’m Gonna Get You’ – Bizarre Inc

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What songs would you add to this list? Comment below!

Jessica

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