First encounters

17th November 2000 at 00:00
Alison Priestley just loves her PGCE

Amazing, truly amazing. This morning I have travelled from Rome to Athens to the mountains of Tibet and the Gold coast. I have discussed Mozart, Vivaldi and Holst. I have been the sea, the wind and the stars. I have just finished my first few weeks on my PGCE and I love it, really.

True, I have spent hours colour co-ordinating a filing system for every document to prove that by the end of the course I really will have covered all subjects and am able to teach. I will have to forego sleep to create exciting lesson plans alongside the assignment workload and school-based tasks necessary for all trainee teachers. But I'm loving it, really I am.

Not all my fellow trainees share my view. Some have already disappeared and some will continue but express horror at the staggering workload. Yet others share my delight at revisiting long-forgotten subjects. To attend a history lecture to discuss the adventures of Odysseus was easily worth the money I could have spent on a theatre ticket. To find that my eight-year-old son had covered the same topicthat week at his school and was filled with the same excitement convinced me this course has been right.

What wonders are still to come? We have promises of finding music that makes us feel like the rustling leaves in an autumn wind. PE is not standing in a hostile playground waiting to be picked by the team captains, but finding how many ways there are to cross a room. These are the reasons why my own children come home from school bursting to tell me what they have done each day.

I know I may still be at the rose-tinted spectacle stage. But I pray that these spectacles get me through the course and my first year of teaching - and for as long as I can take children around the world, travel with them through time and let them be the sea, the wind and the stars.

Alison Priestley is a PGCE student at the University of York, College of Ripon and York l Are you a PGCE or BEd student, NQT or new classroom assistant? Want to earn pound;100? Write - no more than 450 words - to Jill Craven, Friday magazine, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX. E-mail:

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