Please Miss, am I doing it right?

This week will see me complete my first full month of teaching real life children as a real life, paid, teacher. And it’s gone remarkably well all things considered. Admittedly, as a probationer, I’m only teaching 0.7 of a full time teacher’s timetable, which means I only teach 18 of the 30 periods in a week and I have it a lot easier than a full time teacher. As the year goes on I’ll be using a lot of my non-contact time in school for CPD (or Continuing Professional Development); things like observing other teachers, going into the Behaviour Support unit, shadowing learning support assistants and the like, but for the moment I can use the time to plan my lessons, find resources and mark exercise books. It certainly feels easier than when I was a student on placement. Now I have my own classroom too, I’ve got somewhere to work when I’m not teaching, and by essentially treating it as a normal full-time job (I’m usually in school from 8.30am to between 4.30 and 5pm) I’m getting all my work done in school and not having to bring stuff home with me. Of course there’s the odd thing I have to do at home, mostly when I need to get something from a website that is blocked by the council firewall, or if I need to print stuff (the school has no money and therefore I’m not really allowed to print or photocopy anything unless it’s absolutely essential). 

So, it all seems to be going well. I’ve not been punched or had a riot in my classroom yet. I’m still struggling with a couple of classes who just can’t seem to stop talking but I’m getting there. The kids are starting to get used to me, and realising that they like me more when I’m nice than when I’m annoyed with them, and to get the nice me they have to behave. They’re starting to realise that there are consequences to their bad behaviour, and that I will follow through on those consequences. I’ve also pretty much learnt the names of all the pupils I teach (and 180 names in less than a month is no mean feat), and that helps with discipline no end.

But I suppose the big question still to be answered is did I make the right decision in giving up a year’s income, and taking on a load of debt, to retrain? The simple answer is that, at the moment, I still don’t know. Someone asked me the other day if I’m enjoying it…and I don’t even know that. At the moment I’m just doing it, and trying to get better at it as fast as I can. I’m certainly not not liking it. I’m not waking up filled with dread at the prospect of going to school. I have had a few random school-based dreams, and a few nights of lying in bed thinking about how I’m going to deal with certain kids, or deliver a particular lesson, but I’m by no means stressed about it. And time is flying by, I swear a week only lasts three days, which is always a sign that things are going well. Of course, my lack of stress probably has something to do with how happy I am with my life in general at the moment, that my weekends really are something to look forward to, and that I have someone to talk to every night who is willing to listen to me ramble on about naughty kids for hours on end. The other teachers at school are great too, and for now I’m mostly being left to my own devices to just get on with it. I’m not under the same constant scrutiny that I was on placement and that makes a hell of a difference. I am even getting glimpses of the ‘job satisfaction’ that everyone talks about. Occasionally, I feel like I’ve made a breakthrough with a pupil, no matter how small that breakthrough may be, and it actually feels like I might be making a difference. And I suppose that’s what it’s all about.

Of course, I’ve still got a long way to go to get through this year, and after Christmas I face the prospect of having to find a new job for the start of the next school year, (I was guaranteed a job for a year on the probation scheme in place in Scotland but after this school year I’m on my own) possibly somewhere entirely new. And then I’ll have to deal with moving, not only jobs, but moving house too and all the complications that will bring. But do you know what? I feel like I’m ready for the challenge. I’m excited about my life and whatever the future might bring, and I certainly never said that when I was working in telephone banking!

2 thoughts on “Please Miss, am I doing it right?

  1. Yayyyyy! good luck and all that 🙂 just keep up your expectations and make sure they know who is the adult here. try to keep not taking things home and also try not to spend too much of your own dosh on school stuff.

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