May has been a very busy month. I spent the first weekend of the month at a conference on teaching Nazi Germany, organised by King’s College London and the Schools History Project (an important think tank within the British history teaching community). The conference was meant to bring together teachers and academics and inform each other’s practice: naturally school teachers are interested in the newest research on the topics they teach and how to bring fresh ideas and new knowledge into the classroom, and universities are increasingly keen to bridge the gap between school and university so as to prepare prospective undergraduates for the demands of academic history. Throughout my time in British schools, it has been interesting to see how German history is taught here, and the conference really opened my ideas to new approaches that I will be keen to incorporate into my own teaching practice. There are plans to formalise the cooperation and mutual interest that emerged during the conference in a network of teachers and researchers, and it would be exciting to get involved in this.
May also saw the end of my second school placement. In some respects time has whizzed by and I feel like I only just started at the school, but when I think about everything that I have learned over the past months and the many experiences I have had it really doesn’t. I was extremely lucky to be placed at a great school and to have had the support of wonderful colleagues who have worked hard to support me. Over the past year I have come to appreciate just how much life experiences are shaped and determined by the people with whom we share them. Throughout my year in London, I have been fortunate to meet and work with fantastic people, both at school and at university, who have all had a big impact in small ways. Equally, it was an absolute pleasure to work with the young people at both of my placement schools. Teaching can be a tough gig; its ups and downs require an awful lot of perseverance and resilience, which makes it all the more important to be able to rely on people around you – both youngsters and grownups!
Returning to university for our last few weeks of the course was exciting. I have made many friends in my tutor group and it was an absolute pleasure to see them again and share stories and experiences without the pressures of a school timetable. However, after coming back we had roughly a week and a half to write a major assignment for the course. This was to be a scholarly evaluation of a lesson sequence that we had to create and teach during our placement, which made it very interesting to write but equally daunting. After many hours spent in the library and behind my laptop screen I was relieved to finally hit the ‘submit’ button for the last time of the course!