Soapbox - ABC of teaching

19th September 2008 at 01:00
Understanding all the acronyms is hard work, says Mike Lamb

It was confusing to start. Should I do a PGCE, a GTP or consider the SCITT? Unsure, I called the TDA, looked at the GTTR website and applied to UCAS.

On the first day of my PGCE I was introduced to my tutors, for reference LA, JW and GS (head of MFL) and also to ST who was director of ITT. We then went to Room E406 for an introduction from a local school HoD, a rep from the NUT (as well as NASUWT and ATL) and a woman from WSCC, who mentioned the DCSF (formerly the DfES).

The following two weeks were a crash course in AfL, SEN, EAL, ICT, ECM and how to sort out your PDP.

Attendance at school introduced me to the HoY, Senco, Seal, PSHE, NNS, NLS, Ofsted and Inset working in KS2, 3 and 4, everything from Sats to GCSEs (helped of course by the wonderful TAs and HLTAs).

However, it is only now, 10 months later (and still a little confused), that I have achieved QTS and await my certificate from the GTC. I can start my NQT year armed with CEDP, having written this for The TES.

And it's not just acronyms, learning to teach is like learning a new language. All I wanted to do was learn to teach science, not become multilingual.

Perhaps most worrying was at the start of the summer, when I was having a few beers with my fellow trainees in celebration of finishing our course, I suddenly noticed how it had become acceptable in our trainee clique to use words that I had never heard of 10 months ago.

Differentiation was being used in the context of buying a round of beers, those with less ability to drink tucking into halves while the more able enjoyed pints. One of the less able drinkers was enjoying a Gamp;T, which caused all sorts of confusion. It seemed our informal assessments were not working. Less drunk than your average students, we certainly weren't making sense, speaking what I believe some people call "edu-babble".

Am I becoming bilingual, am I becoming a boring teacher, is there too much jargon in education? I wish someone would just spell it out to me . without the acronyms.

Mike Lamb is a biology teacher at Hurstpierpoint College in West Sussex and has finished his PGCE.

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