Monday, 15 March 2010

My Week of What it's Like to be Back at University

Yeah yeah, I know this is supposed to be where I do the Mayana's week post, and I know that some people out there (Mum, Alexie) are sitting there fanging for some photos of the Mayana-berry, but you'll just have to hold your horses. For one, I'm at a uni computer lab right now and don't have any of Mayana's photos here, and for two this is MY blog and I'm gonna talk about myself for a while, okay?

I have so far done two weeks of uni, and I'm really getting back into the swing of things. I'm doing two courses: Math and 'Healthy Communities'- which is just a fancy label for the the subject where they teach us about SOSE (Studies of Society & Environment) and HPE (Health & Physical Education).

Evidently however, the whole SOSE thing is becoming a little redundant, because of the whole national curriculum thing which conveniently is choosing ignore SOSE as a KLA (Key Learning Area - c'mon people, get with the educational jargon abbreviations here) in favour of things like History and Civics and Citezinship or some-such (that part hasn't officially been announced yet, I think it's in the third curriculum roll-out).

Anyway, apparently (according to our lecturers) SOSE is still relevant because we can teach with a SOSE host enquiry-based pedagogy. Confused? Me too. Hopefully I won't be by the end of this semester!

Math is great. We have a really great lecturer, who favours teaching in a really hands-on way, and I'm learning a lot about how to improve my pedagogy from him. And how to make math relevant and fun -- all good things. By the way, pedagogy is one of those education buzz words and it means, "The Art and Science of Teaching" - and refers not to the content, but the way in which you're delivering it. In a nutshell anyway. The assessment for math is one exam worth 50% and an ongoing assessment based on our workbooks that will also be worth 50%. It's so much easier having to do relatively small amounts of work that are assessed each week than some massive written task. I also think it makes the learning more meaningful.

The SOSE stuff is okay. We have this teacher for our tutorials who has come straight from teaching highschool - which means that he treats us like highschool students because that's what he's used to. So he's all like, "don't swing on the chairs, stop tapping your pen..." and I think he'd like it if we called him 'sir', you know? He's done heaps of consultancy stuff for EQ (Education Qld) as well, so he has the smarts, but I sometimes feel like he can't bring what he knows into the context of teaching us to teach primary school. And he treats tutorials like a lecture, meaning we sit there for two hours just being talked at which is incredibly boring. Plus I don't think he has the same idea as us as to what integrated curriculum means, which often makes it feel like we are talking about totally different things! But you'll just have to take that at face value because it would feel like I was writing an assignment if I had to sit here and explain it!

HPE. I know, I can here the snickers from here as to what people think about ME doing a HPE subject. Well, just so you know it's totally compulsary. And contrary to what you're probably thinking I'm actually enjoying it! I know, surprised me too.
Last week we had to do a three hour compulsary swimming workshop. I complained and dragged my feet and really didn't like the thought of appearing before a bunch of my peers in my togs (yes I'm a Queenslander and they're togs NOT swimmers or bathing suits...). But another surprise for me -- I actually had fun! I mean, I was not the only person who was feeling self-concious, but I also (surprisingly) was not the worst swimmer there. Just so you know, I was that kid in primary school who was ALWAYS in the lowest group when we did swimming, and as such I generally didn't move beyond swimming with a kickboard. Lucky for me, I am a human cork and find it impossible to sink - so at least I know I can survive in the water!

The first half of the workshop was learning how to teach kids basic swimming lessons, you know, in case we're ever placed out in whoop-whoop somewhere and there isn't a swimming instructor included with the pool session and we have to run it all. Hopefully that never happens to me, because the thought of being in charge of 25-odd non-swimming kids in a pool full of water gives me heart palpitations. I'd be like, "So... where are the kickboards??"
The second half had us floating up and down the pool (A+ for me - I actually kicked-butt in that session, and that was a new experience for me in a sport-based activity!). We also learned to dive, do belly-flops, and a couple of other creative ways to get from the side of the pool into the water. I was so proud of myself for diving into the pool - I don't think I've EVER done it before.
And all that in and out and up and down the pool was heck of a work-out. We were all royally stuffed by the time we hit the showers.

Last Friday we had another PE session, where we had to actually go out to the oval (a place that I didn't step foot on, except for when we had to do a fire drill, for the whole of grade twelve!) and play sports. And I even hit the ball twice in our modified game of softball... and caught the ball a couple of times too! I know, there are people picking themselves up off the floor all over the place reading this, but it's true, promise!

For HPE theory last week we had this lecturer that was actually on the final team of people that put together the current QLD (Essential Learnings) curriculum for HPE. I thought that woud be a really cool thing because she would know lots of valuable information - and it was in some ways but in others she was all like, "Um, I wrote this and I know everything about it and that is a really stupid question". Which kind of sucked.

For the 'Healthy Communities' course, we're doing two assessments: one presentation for SOSE, and a unit planning task for HPE. This is the last offer EVER of this course, and we'll be the last lot of graduates to be coming out of this particular structure of the education degree at this uni (Bachelor of Education, Primary & Middle Schooling), so they've changed the structure of the course a bit. Last year, when all my friends did it, they had to do four assessments including this awful one where they had to film themselves teaching someone to swim (being in your togs in front of your peers is bad enough, but being in your togs on film!!!!?????). So I'm pretty grateful for that. Plus there are only 54 people in our cohort, so we're getting a lot of one-to-one teacher time, and our teachers are all pretty keen on us passing these courses well, because obviously we'll not be able to take them again seeing as this is the last time they'll run. So you can see that God does work in mysterious ways, and it's turning out to be an extra good thing that I'm doing my fourth year and graduating in 2010 in stead of 2009.

All-in-all I'm really enjoying being back at uni. Being on campus is waaaaaay better than studying externally, and I'm loving using my brain again. I'm learning heaps, and that's what I'm paying for, so it's a good thing eh?

We've had a few lectures on the Big Scary Things we have to do this year - internships, portfolios, interviews... I'll have to do a dedicated post about that some other time. It's kind of nerve-wracking, but pretty darn exciting too! It's so near the end and I'm so excited!

So there you go, I hope you enjoyed my little overview of what uni-life has been like for me for the past two weeks. Normal, Mayana-based programing will resume shortly...

1 comment:

  1. Oh! You got to go swimming for uni?! And play sports? You are so lucky! I am doing a SOSE course too and it is pretty boring. Essay on civics & citizenship and a one-hour workshop for our assessments. And doing multi-level curriculum and pedagogy. A 20 minute presentation and an eportfolio for prac. Also doing an aboriginal course, we have not two but FOUR assessments for that course but none of them are too demanding. But we don't get to play SPORT! That is just cool. Jess.


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