PGCE… still going…

As I sat listening to the stories from the other PGCE ODA trainees last night whilst out enjoying a meal together, I felt reassured that it hadn’t just been me that found my first placement to be challenging at times. Funny stories were shared, the stresses and frustrations, the hopes and wants for the next placements as well as cautionary tales were told around the table. It was very evident to see that each person had matured and grown and there was a passion and drive from each one to do well and educate young people in outdoor adventurous activities… but, a break is needed! Our bodies are telling us we need to rest and relax, and we will do after the 21st, we just need to push on for these final two weeks!

We ate a Hangin’ Pizzeria in Betws-y-coed. Highly recommend this place and their efforts with supporting primate conservation.

Our experiences have varied, as does every schools approach to outdoor activities; some embrace it and devote good quality time to it whilst others, with outdoor-minded teachers like in my placement, use every opportunity, either during a one hour lesson or outside of lesson time, to provide opportunities as best they can with limited resources (ever climbed in worn rock boots from the early ’90s?) just so kids get outside. Beames et al., talked about this Victorian model of indoor education setting which is still utilised today and it resonated so much with me that it actually continues to bother me. I don’t think this ‘indoor model‘ fits society anymore and I don’t think the current ODA model that is emerging is also fully appropriate… the ‘adventure trio‘ as I dub it, appears in every centre – kayaking/canoeing (BCU level 2 coach), mountain walking (ML) and climbing (SPA). It’s adventurous and it is fun, there’s no doubt it is, but it does it encourage enough young people to have a natural curiosity about their world to explore more and realise how vital it is to us and how to conserve and protect it? Should schools do more to incorporate conservation into their timetable? I’m sure the students would be happy to lose a language or maths lesson!

I would prefer to be here than in a Maths lesson!

I only say this because my biggest ‘bug-bear’ on this placement has been the amount of paper wasted/printed on. I watch the trainees at my placement (10 of us altogether) go through a ream of paper (500 sheets) A DAY through printing… and that is not including the colour copies the reprographics print for us as well! So, on average 6% of a tree is lost in a day with just our printing... 30% during the working week, 1 tree lost every three and half weeks… just, wow.

My mentor tells me he likes the resources I produce, I tell him that I want to be at his experience level where he doesn’t need printed resources to be able to teach a class. I only produce the printed resources as I need to show evidence for my portfolio and I need them to rely on, but I just don’t like the thought of how quickly they are discarded…

What would happen if people/schools became more aware of how much they use? Would we develop a stronger mental capacity if we relied more on memory recall and not resources? Would we be more creative without printed materials? I dunno, I’m still thinking about that 6%…

Imagine a world without trees?

My subject mentor asked me what I intended to do once I’ve gained QTS status… and I honestly didn’t have a solid answer, all I could truthfully say was that I just wanted a job outdoors. Where that would be would be anyone’s guess, but as long as I’m not stuck at a desk I think I will be ok. The expedition side appeals strongly but I would be equally happy for a residential centre. Somewhere, where I’m not printing on lots of paper, will do me just fine!

Looking forward to Christmas Day dinner!

– Just Joanne

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