A Week In The Life of a Primary PGCE Student: What a difference a week makes!

Every Sunday (hopefully) I shall be posting a personal post about my massive new venture. I am going to University to train to be a primary school teacher. I will be trained to work with 5-11 year olds. It’s known to be a very, very stressful time so I’m hoping I can channel my thoughts and feelings into a blog post. It gives you an insight into what’s going on in my life and hopefully it’ll be incredibly therapeutic for me. I will NOT be naming any children, schools or teaching staff. I won’t even mention what University I’m at. I hope that’s understandable. If personal posts aren’t your thing then feel free to skip these posts. I won’t mind!

So remember last week? I was exhausted but happy. Well… a day after writing that post I had one of the worst days I’ve had after starting this course in September 2014. I hope that highlights just how tough teaching can be.

I had my first formal observation and I was teaching the whole day. I just don’t know what happened to me! :-( My lessons were really flat and the behaviour in the classroom was not good. I held it together until the end of the day and then I just lost it and ended up sobbing. I just felt like such a failure. There were times in the day when I thought I just couldn’t do this job anymore. My school were incredibly supportive and I had great support from home and my friends as well. I was a mess. After a night of tears and doubts, I knew I had to carry on. I knew deep down that this is what I want to do, so I plastered on a smile and got on with it!

The rest of the week went okay. Tuesday was a bit of a better day but on Wednesday I felt back to my best. I was formally observed again and came out with good results. I felt more like me again.

I’ve picked up a virus this week, so I’m feeling pretty rubbish health wise. I’m just glad we have an extra day off (tomorrow) as I have a very busy week ahead and who knows what it’s going to be like… I can’t call it!

Stacking The Shelves #117

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared!

As ever, click on the title to get to the Goodreads page!


The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight, #1)

I have heard great things about this book, so I’m looking forward to giving it a go soon! :-)

Every Last Promise

This book has been on my radar for a while. It’s a short read, so I’m hoping to slip it into my May reads! It certainly sounds intriguing.

The Wrong Side of Right

I have heard amazing things about this book!

What have you added to your shelves this week? Let me know! Feel free to leave a link to your hauls and I’ll stop by!

Fairy Tale Friday: Faithful Johannes

Thanks to Luna for Fairy Chrissi!

The latest fairy tale that I’ve read in my book of Grimm Tales is Faithful Johannes. Faithful Johannes begins with the King dying and making his faithful servant Johannes promise that he won’t let the King’s son see a portrait of a princess. The new King eventually forces his way into the room, sees the portrrait of the princess and falls in love. The King isn’t sure how he’s going to win the princess over. There are ravens involved who tell the King certain things he has to do in order to get the princess and yes…. he does have the ability to understand ravens!

I thought this was a quirky little fairy tale, and whilst it isn’t my favourite from the selection I’ve read so far, it was enjoyable enough. There are certain elements of the story which are deeply disturbing such as the lengths the King will go to, to save Johannes. I won’t say anymore than that on the subject but it’s certainly not a ‘nice’ fairy tale, as us readers know.. fairy tales often have their darker edge to them!

Next Fairy Tale: The Twelve Brothers

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid Lit: Flour Babies

Flour Babies

How did I get it?:
I bought it!


Let it be flour babies. Let chaos reign. When the annual school science fair comes round, Mr Cartwright’s class don’t get to work on the Soap Factory, the Maggot Farm or the Exploding Custard Tins. To their intense disgust they get the Flour Babies – sweet little six-pound bags of flour that must be cared for at all times.


I vividly remember loving this book when I was younger. I was so happy when it was picked for our challenge, as I absolutely have fond memories of it. Whilst I still enjoyed it and thought it was a sweet read, I didn’t love it as much as I remembered. Ah. Adulthood!

Flour Babies is about Simon Martin and his friends in 4C. They have a project of taking on the responsibility of a small sack of flour as part of a ‘Child Development’ project. The Flour Baby comes with many different rules and regulations! The aim of the project is to get the students to think about responsibility and parenthood. Our main protagonist Simon finds himself beginning to really care for his Flour Baby despite his initial reservations. Simon unexpectedly finds himself coming to terms with his own absent father.

The absent father element is something that I didn’t recall from my childhood readings of Flour Babies. Perhaps because my father was absent (due to being in the army) so much, I didn’t really see it as anything unusual. I really liked how Anne Fine didn’t shy away from the absent father in the story. So many children can relate to this!

The language in Flour Babies is a little dated for our modern day children, but I do think children would still get something out of this book.

Being from the education sector myself, I identified a lot with the school environment in which this book is set. Scarily enough, some of the teacher’s conversations about their students are accurate as to how some teachers (not me!) speak about their pupils!

For Beth’s review please check her blog out HERE

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Reading next for the Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit Challenge (May):
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe- C.S Lewis

This Week In Books #4

I am joining in with the lovely Lipsy from Lipsy’s Lost and Found’s feature which highlights our week in books. I shall be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next! I won’t be showcasing my new books as I do that on a Saturday. I’m really excited by this feature as I loved sharing my recent reads. My book reviews published on my blog are often WAY behind what I’m actually reading, so this is a good feature to keep you up to date!

Click on the book tile below to take you to Goodreads!

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NOWNever Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid- Urgh. I have been in such a reading slump. I was trying to read A Court Of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J Maas, but I just couldn’t get into it. I don’t know if it’s just me being so busy, or whether I’m just not in a fantasy mood. However, I have managed to get halfway through Never Always Sometimes and I’m pretty confident that I’ll finish it today. It’s an easy to read contemporary book!

THEN- Flour Babies by Anne Fine- I read this book for Beth and I’s kid lit feature, the review will be published tomorrow!

NEXTWe Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman- I am looking forward to reading this book after very much enjoying The Memory Book by the same author.

What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments below or leave a link to your post or WWW Wednesday posts!

Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Dealing With Mental Illness


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s list are the Top Ten books which feature characters dealing with mental illness. I’ve decided to feature mental illness on my list this week, as I’ve recently been pleasantly surprised with how the topic is represented in literature. I’m not saying that authors always get it right, but it’s an important topic to be explored.

As ever, click on the book image to get to Goodreads.

Undone by Cat Clarke


I really enjoy Cat Clarke’s books and Undone really impressed and shocked me at the same time. It deals with the aftermath of the main character’s best friend killing himself after being outed as gay.

Wintergirls- Laurie Halse Anderson


Laurie Halse Anderson is an amazing writer. I truly recommend her books! Wintergirls deals with eating disorders. It’s an incredibly powerful read.

Speak- Laurie Halse Anderson


Speak is the first book I read from Laurie Halse Anderson. The main character in this book is suffering after a terrible event.

My Heart and Other Black Holes- Jasmine Warga

My Heart and Other Black Holes

This book is about depression and suicide. Handled in a very sensitive manner. Some of the descriptions are so powerful in this book. It really made an impact on me.

The Shock Of The Fall- Nathan Filer

The Shock of the Fall

This is yet another powerful read. The reader learns about the main character’s fall into mental illness. Highly recommended!

The Last Time We Say Goodbye- Cynthia Hand

The Last Time We Say Goodbye

I was really intrigued to see what Cynthia Hand’s contemporary work would be like. I was impressed. This book deals with the consequences of a family member taking their own life.

Perfect Escape- Jennifer Brown

Perfect Escape

In this book, the main character’s brother suffers from OCD. She takes him away from his everyday life and his routines/rituals. They really go on a journey (cheesy, sorry! ;) ) together. I loved this book!

The Silver Linings Playbook- Matthew Quick

The Silver Linings Playbook

I haven’t seen the movie adaptation but I’ve read the book! It’s so interesting to see the world from the main character’s point of view. A thought provoking book.

Stronger Than You Know- Jolene Perry

Stronger Than You Know

I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did. The main character suffers from panic attacks admidst other problems. She finds inner strength. I was touched by this book.

Pointe- Brandy Colbert


Another beautiful book that completely exceeded my expectations. It deals with the aftermath of an eating disorder and the aftermath of terrible events.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? What have you picked for your list this week? Feel free to leave a link to your post and I’ll stop by!


Banned Books #10 The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

banned books

Welcome to this month’s Banned Books feature. This month Beth and I have read The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier.

The Chocolate War (Chocolate War, #1)


Jerry Renault ponders the question on the poster in his locker: Do I dare disturb the universe? Refusing to sell chocolates in the annual Trinity school fund-raiser may not seem like a radical thing to do. But when Jerry challenges a secret school society called The Vigils, his defiant act turns into an all-out war. Now the only question is: Who will survive? First published in 1974, Robert Cormier’s groundbreaking novel, an unflinching portrait of corruption and cruelty, has become a modern classic.

First published: 1974
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2009 (source)
Chosen by: Beth
Reasons: nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.

Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH: Hmmm, this is a difficult one. Perhaps because it was a bit controversial for the 1970’s yes. I thought it was a very interesting book and sent a brave message out there but I just can’t imagine it being taught in classrooms especially back then. I certainly can’t picture a teacher reading out certain parts of the book:
“Then she brushed past him again – that was the night he’d bought her the earrings – and he knew it wasn’t an accident. He’d felt himself hardening and was suddenly ashamed and embarrassed and deliriously happy all at the same time.”
See what I mean?

CHRISSI: I can see why it was banned, merely because of the language/nature of the book. It’s quite blunt in places, but to be honest, this book doesn’t expose teenagers/young adults to anything that they haven’t heard before. Like many of the books we’ve read for this feature, it would take a brave teacher to read this with a class. I can just hear some of the sniggering that would go on. I can certainly recognise that some parents and school boards would be very uncomfortable with their teens reading this. Are we underestimating the maturity of teens? Perhaps.

How about now?

BETH: I agree with Chrissi that this book doesn’t expose kids to anything they haven’t heard previously in their daily lives. What I think it does do is introduce a new way of thinking about the world that perhaps they haven’t realised before. As I said in the last question, I can’t imagine it being taught in classrooms (if it is, great!) but it’s a fantastic book that teachers can recommend to teenagers to seek out and read in their own time and perhaps discuss their thoughts and opinions with other students at a later date.

CHRISSI: I don’t think this book exposes anything new to young adults so I don’t see why it continues to be banned. Most teenagers I know would feel more compelled to read this knowing that its banned. Making a big deal out of books like this actually is ironic, because teenagers end up wanting to read it even more…If it was dealt with in the classroom then perhaps the issues included could be addressed in a more mature manner. It would certainly encourage some interesting conversations/debates. Would a teacher take it on? I’m not so sure.

What did you think of this book?

BETH: This book was really interesting. In the Introduction the author says that the book was initially rejected by seven major publishers. Why? It was thought “too complicated for teenagers. Far too many characters and a downbeat ending which teenagers of the 1970’s would find difficult to accept.” My first thoughts on reading this is that they seem to be both predicting what teenagers would think and under-estimating them without even giving them a chance! Some parts of the book were quite dark it’s true and although it is a harsh reality to face that life sometimes isn’t fair, at least the book is honest and I think most teenagers would appreciate that.

CHRISSI: I thought that it was a well written and interesting book. It’s incredibly dark in places. It’s not a book that I would necessarily revisit, but I thought it was interesting enough and thought provoking!

Would you recommend it?

BETH: Probably!