I’ve got two words for you… teenagers and sport. Those two words may ripple fear into your blood, or maybe it’s a challenge that you are willing to take on. Try combining them, but this time, make it 30 students and sport. How do you feel now? Petrified? Like a deer standing in headlights? Not really sure what to do or when to do it? Welcome to PEX2.
PEX2 is a second-year Professional Experience for education students which takes place right at the end of the year, from mid-November until December. You spend five days a week, 8am – 4pm, for three weeks in an allocated high school. It brings back all those high school memories: canteens, school uniforms, detentions, boring maths lessons, friends… Except this time, you’re on the flip side, you’re the teacher and YOU’RE the one responsible for teaching these students about PDHPE.
I was allocated Carlingford High School and was paired up with Mrs. Kacevski (don’t worry, even after 3 weeks with her, I’m still not 100% sure how to say her name). She was a vibrant and bubbly PDHPE/Dance teacher and she took me under her wing. Mrs. Kacevski was a former student at ACPE, and she completely understood that I was just a tad nervous about getting up in front of a huge class of stinky teenagers. So, two weeks out from my starting day, she spent one Wednesday morning walking me around the school and showing me the basic ropes of the school. It was a little intimidating walking through the corridors and dodging year 9 boys who were twice my height, but Mrs. Kacevski made sure that I knew everything I needed to get started in a couple of weeks’ time. By the end of our orientation, I was ready and excited to get started!
My first couple of days I spent in the back of the classroom, observing and taking notes on all the classes I would be teaching – which students needed to look out for, how the class learnt best, what were some of the things the teacher did to;
a) keep control of the class and
b) keep them engaged
In the next two and a half weeks, I was teaching about 3 classes a day, both practical to theory. The first class I had was Year 8 gymnastics. I’m not going to lie; I was very concerned because flexibility and gracefulness are not a strong suit of mine. But Mrs. Kacevski spent time with me, making sure that I had everything I needed to teach the lesson effectively.
At the end of my three weeks at Carlingford High, I did not want to leave! I had loved learning the hints and tricks of teaching, like how to keep a class engaged on a Friday afternoon and how to teach sports I was not familiar with (like gymnastics). I had grown in confidence in teaching students who were twice my height and those who were a little bit tricky to keep on task. My one take away message from PEX2 is: it is only through teaching that you learn how to teach.