Joining the upper crust

19th October 2007 at 01:00
I'm about to begin my first school placement. Since graduating earlier this year in archaeology and anthropology, I embarked on a secondary history PGCE.

This involved moving back to my parents' home from the bubble of Cambridge and adjusting once again to domestic routines and house rules. Indeed, over the past couple of weeks I have felt far more of a pupil than a teacher.

There have been packed lunches - with the crusts cut off - and inquiries about what time I'll be home. The family will then sit around the television watching Coronation Street while I try to make sense of Vygotsky and Piaget, just as I once did my homework. By 9pm I am usually exhausted, so I go to bed. It is a worrying scene, yet one familiar among my fellow PGCE-ers.

This regression to my own schooldays doesn't stop at domestic banter. I was amused to find that sitting in subject groups at college, we immediately reverted to being naughty children: whispering when we should be listening, doodling on desks, and coining nicknames for our contemporaries.

It had been a blissful week of preparation for the unknown. We would go to the dining hall at lunch and wonder where our placement school would be, what it would be like, and more importantly, if we would survive it.

Eventually the placements were pinned to the notice board, and we began frantically Googling our school, trying to work out whether it was good or bad (surely there can be no in-between).

Now I have bought "sensible" clothes, which will hopefully mask both my nerves and my inadequacies. It is reminiscent of my first day at senior school: lying awake all night worrying if I would get there on time, that I'd be in my friend's class, and that my uniform wouldn't look too nerdy.

I had similar worries before starting university - that "they" would somehow catch me out, and realise they made a mistake in ever having let me in. The difference now is that I have changed roles. I will be allowed in the staffroom. I will have to get used to being Miss Worthington. I am grown up. So much so, that I may ask for the crusts to be left on the sandwiches in the morning.

Verity Worthington is studying a secondary history PGCE at Worcester University.

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