It takes a minute but my brain finally engages and I realise that the child waving their arm in the air is talking to me. After my first half term as a trainee teacher being called ‘miss’ is still quite the novelty. I have to remind myself that when I say I am going to ‘school’ I now mean ‘work’ and that the thirty faces looking at me in a classroom are expecting me to teach them. You soon realise that you will need to speed up your lesson planning, having enough time to cover everything in an hour is a skill and that you need to become very good at acting. You also realise that you find yourself saying things you never imagined you would- “please get out from under the table” and “if you are saying potato, please stop”. Every day that you walk into school, you never know quite what to expect. Children are unpredictable, but it does make you chuckle when a child asks you something so far- fetched you really don’t know how to answer it.
The first half term as a trainee teacher has really flown by. I entered the teaching school on my first day wearing my best teacher outfit and hoping that I had made the right career choice. On meeting the rest of the trainees, it became apparent that they all felt the same. The first week of training flew by. We became familiar with the teaching standards which are mentioned so many times I can recite them. We also addressed the dreaded issue of behaviour and I am learning to perfect my teacher glare- the one that says ‘yes I can see what you’re doing and it had better stop’. By the end of the initial training, I felt ready to get in the classroom.
My first day at my placement school felt like a whirlwind. I was given a tour of the school, filled in lots of paperwork and observed my first lesson. I was definitely thankful to have been to the inset days and met my mentor prior to starting. On my second day at the school, I was faced with… Ofsted! Yes, my placement school got inspected in my first week. Although this wasn’t ideal, it gave me the opportunity to experience something that many trainees wouldn’t. Apart from this, I spent my first two weeks immersing myself in school life. I observed lessons, attended meetings and realised that teachers are very different in the staffroom!
After the first couple of weeks, I sat down with my mentor to discuss when I wanted to start teaching. I decided I was ready to give it a go and that I was going to take the whole lesson. My first class was top set year 11! I was incredibly nervous and I am pretty sure the whole class could tell because they were really well behaved! It was at this point I realised the skill of pace. I was so concerned about making it through the lesson that I didn’t consider the fact that by half way through the lesson we were on the last task. Although it didn’t go as well as it could have, I was just thankful I had taught a lesson without anything going wrong. Nevertheless, I had done it! I had taught a full lesson with no tables or chairs flying.
As my teaching timetable gets fuller, I am enjoying it far more. I am no longer a nervous wreck at the front of the classroom. I am getting much faster at planning, my pace in lessons is getting better (this might be debateable) and I feel far more confident. My placement school is fantastic. They encourage me to get involved with everything they are doing. In my first half term I have attended meetings and training, took part at open evening, helped with primary liaison and I have begun planning a scheme of work. Their support has made me more confident both inside and outside of the classroom. I feel much more confident taking control of a class and I love seeing them enjoy what I have planned. The first half term has ended on such a high with my last lesson achieving a cheer for a homework task – I didn’t expect that!
The first half term as a trainee teacher with the National Forest Teaching School has been a challenge. I have had to work really hard and take in a lot of information but I have loved every minute. Both my placement school and the SCITT team have been invaluable and they make me believe I can do this. As I enjoy my first holiday as a teacher, I can safely say that I am welcoming the start of the new half term and so far… it is still the career for me!