That First Bad Day

Maybe it was the lack of sleep due to a disruptive 5 year old, or sleeping through the alarm, or waking to the earth-shattering news from the US, or the weather, or the drive to school, or something else. For some reason, things just didn’t click and now, reflecting back on the day I have a strange feeling. One of dissapointment of course, but a feeling actually mixed with relief. Relief because I was starting perhaps to coast, to think that things were going too well and wishing I’d done all this years ago. So it was good to be reminded that I’m still less than 3 months into my training and I have a long way to go to become the teacher I am striving to be.

To be honest, it’s been a tricky week anyway so far with supply cover issues, staff sickness and pressures in the department. All things I should perhaps be shielded from but at the same time have been affected by. The school day itself actually began on a positive note with the opportunity to speak at the Year 7 assembly to present a science challenge, something which having spoken in meetings and at conferences did not daunt me in the faintest. The talk went well and was received positively, and then the issues started.

First up was the year 8 class for whom I was delivering a lesson on gas tests and reactivity of certain gases. The starter activity failed to engage them, the practical took too long, I used the wrong apparatus and breakages were occurring around the room. Students were failing to follow simple instructions – either I wasn’t communicating properly or they weren’t listening but for whatever reason things just weren’t working, we moved on. The second part of the lesson wasn’t much better and soon safety was becoming an issue meaning that the practical had to be stopped and equipment packed away. In the end not everything got completed, learning was minimal and it was essentially a lesson to forget. And then there was year 7.

It started badly before the lesson by forgetting to prepare some of the resources for differentiation and then not being able to access the internet from the lab, curtailing some of my plans. Students were actually then well engaged and responded well to the tasks and the structure of the lesson. However, again, not everything was completed, a final assessment didn’t take place and the lesson seemed chaotic and unstructured. Comments from the teacher observing reassured me that there was some good learning taking place but it was clear that I needed to up my game and refocus my planning and preparation.

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