Diary Entry: my first week on placement

Liam Coupland

PGCE Primary student teacher, Liam Coupland, outlines his first week of school experience.


Well I’m sat in my car and I’m starting to feel nervous now – not unexpected as I’m going into the unknown. But I’ve done this before and I just need to get on with it.  Once I’m in I’ll be fine. I think it’s just the fact I’m going in as a ‘teacher’ not a teaching assistant. It’s more responsibility and it’s that next step up.


Had a really nice introduction to the school. A thorough walk around with 2 mentors and 2 fellow trainees to see the whole school and meet the teachers in every class from nursery to year 6. Everyone seems welcoming, friendly and supportive. My mentor established my authority straight away by reiterating to the class that I’m a ‘teacher’.

I have already noticed the low-level disruption of a couple of students. I have already mentally marked them in for social/behavioural interventions towards my studies.

I was given a lovely pack by my mentor which included everything I needed for my school information, IEPs and, importantly, I was given a full run down of the framework for the Autumn term including week by week plans for literacy, maths and topic. All of this means my planning will be so much more robust.


End of day one and I’m feeling positive, if a bit tired. Lots of Information and an INSET after school. I’ve got some great ideas going forth. I think I have all of my children chosen for all my tasks, and my mentor seemed to agree with my choices. It was all very productive and I’m looking forward to getting back into it tomorrow, starting with PE first thing.


Well day two is here and I’m feeling more positive going in. I’m looking forward to my first ever foundation phase PE lesson as I didn’t do any on my previous experiences.


Well, the day was really busy but very productive. PE was really good. They do 90 minutes of PE every week in our class. We did a mix of shape, movement, directional and level activities and, at the end, they had to perform in front of their peers in groups with the others peer assessing their performance.

After a break for assembly/break we continued with games testing their mental arithmetic. Pupils used various movements to collect objects, all worth different amounts. They then had to add all of these together to give the practitioner their total.

Mathematics after lunch involved practising elements of doubling and the 2 times table, which, again, was done in groups with some doing the activity while some were using child-led enhanced provision.

I got a number of different observations done for my assignment and ‘Learning through Enquiry’ tasks. I felt it was a very positive day.  I saw a lot of different techniques used by the practitioners.  I was also welcomed in by the staff who were very supportive and who have been keen to help in any way they can. This is encouraging for the tasks I have to come.



Day three is here and I’m excited to go in and see how everything is today. I have some planned child development observations and a phonics walk planned for after school.  I’m starting to get my head around balancing the observations and getting through the requirements or associated with enquiry and observation work.


Well, day three is over and we had a literacy and numeracy day today: literacy in the morning creating a report about hedgehogs; and work on doubling to 12-100 (depending on differentiation) in the afternoon.

I also took a guided group reading session, as the practitioner was called out. It went well and I got to see the reading ability of 6 children at first hand, which will be good going into reading tasks.  They did a mix of reading alone, reading to me/in pairs and asking and answering questions about the text.

Staff were really supportive today.  They gave me lots of information on my school phonics walk, and they all said that if there’s anything they could help with they would and they appreciated my feedback on the phonics work they do. 


Well, day four is here and gone. I feel like I have really settled into the class. Again, took the guided reading. I feel this is giving me a real insight into the children. I can observe them reading, then question them around the reading and their own thoughts. Today the book was about healthy eating and I got to learn their favourite fruits and vegetables as well as things they didn’t like. Engaging them in conversation also helps them get to know me as well, which will be all important when I am the teacher leading the class.

The class really engaged with the literacy task, which was building a recount of ‘The Hodgeheg’ to use in their extended writing next week. They found it difficult to begin with but a good warm up including verbal, physical and digital tools and aids really helped them get into the task.

We finished with our topic work, which is all based on ‘Fire’.  We are starting to look at the Great Fire of London.  This will progress further in the term onto Guy Fawkes and Diwali.  It was also the grand opening of our ‘Pudding Lane Bakery’ role play area. The children really enjoyed all aspects of this area as it has been well designed to test their literacy, numeracy, reading, socialisation and motor skills.


I’ve got home from my first day back at Cyncoed after being on placement.  It was really good to talk about all of our different experiences in lots of different schools.

There were lots of questions to ask our tutors, and I’ve thought of more since I got back.  The lessons we had were really useful in giving more ideas to take into class, and to make our lessons more interesting for the children.

I’m looking forward to getting back to class on Monday as I want to see how the class did in their spelling test and their ‘Beat that Maths’, both of which are only done on a Friday when I am back in lectures.  All in all, a good week!




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