From York Students In Schools To KEEN
Incoming Project Co-ordinator Alex looks to stay top of the class as he considers his route to a teaching career.
I joined KEEN at the start of my second year. I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but I aimed to work with children outside of a classroom environment – and, of course, another aim was to have lots of fun.
I’m hoping to become a primary school teacher, and I’d had a lot of experience with children in the school environment – even, thanks to a York Students in Schools project, getting the opportunity to plan and deliver my own lesson! But there had been very few SEND children in the classes I’d worked with. No day is ever the same in school and of course every child needs to be treated as an individual, but going to KEEN has encouraged a new perspective, ensuring that all needs are accommodated and that, particularly for the younger ages, it’s fundamentally enjoyable.
Rather than just saying ‘keep your letters on the line’, which just wasn’t working, when working one-to-one with a Year 1 child, I made it individual and turned it into a game; we had to jump up and catch the letters that were ‘floating away’ into the marshmallow clouds, which was the setting of her story. I haven’t worked with her class for a long time, but for what it’s worth she remembered to keep her letters on the line for the rest of her corrections at least!
Of course it isn’t all fun and games in the classroom - unfortunately there’s little time for KEEN-style games when SATs are approaching! – but the skills and attitude I’ve gained from going to KEEN are invaluable in the primary setting. And, naturally, it, like my weekly school placements, serves as a fantastic break from studying; there’s no time to think about deadlines when you’re focused on finding out who the murderer is in ‘Wink Murder’ so you re-enter the reality of university work feeling happier and refreshed. If nothing else, KEEN is perfect for a study break!
I’m very excited about being elected as the next Project Coordinator of KEEN, and before that I had a taster session that I ran to see if the role was right for me. That showed just show different the experience was compared to the classroom – it’s a lot harder to manage the room, and the five claps that instantly gains the attention of thirty Year 2s aren’t really applicable here.
But I have no doubt that the skills I’ll develop as Project Coordinator will be immensely useful in the classroom and I can’t wait for the year ahead as I get to become more involved with the society that I had stumbled across but now couldn’t appreciate more.
Ultimately, whether you’re interested in teaching or not, I really recommend joining KEEN. It doesn’t take up much time – only an hour a week! – but it’s so much fun, it leads to such great skills… and, well, you never know: you might just be inspired to teach.