As the end of my second week of teacher training draws to a close, I find myself for the first time with a free period, an empty work area and some time to reflect.
I have spent enough time around schools to know that teaching is definitely not boring. Each child (and each colleague for that matter) brings their own unique blend of strengths and challenges. Getting to know them has been one of my main aims for this first few weeks. Putting aside my self-consciousness and ignoring the snide remarks “you a new sixth-former miss?” (very flattering, at my age, I’m sure), I have tried to talk to as many pupils as possible, as I go about the school. I have made it my mission to learn their names, find out what they are interested in, what books they like reading, where they live, who their brothers and sisters are. There have been a few awkward moments, like when a boy I greeted in the playground tried to shake my hand for some reason. Very polite, you might think, but I was holding a laptop and a timetable and he was grasping a half-chewed wagon-wheel, so it took a fair few minutes of swapping things from hand to hand to complete the handshake. But on the whole, the interactions with pupils have gone smoothly; they seem to be friendly and responsive.
The group I am getting to know most quickly are, of course, my form group. My form group are a fantastic collection of wide-eyed, trepidatious year 7s, as bursting with enthusiasm at the start of their secondary career as their brand-new pencil cases are bursting with felt-tips. This has helped me ease in gently to teaching; to dip my toe in the water. Facilitating short activities with my form group at the start of the day, has helped to calm both their nerves and mine. It is hard to imagine how, in a few short years they will transform into the unruly, six-foot students in the upper years. It seems impossible to think that perhaps by then, I will have gained the confidence to teach them effectively too.
This morning, as I entered the school site, bleary eyed from a late night tidying up from my daughter’s birthday party, my efforts were rewarded. A group of boys hanging around near the cafeteria, turned towards me and, before I had had chance to say anything, one of them said cheerily: “Morning Miss”. I smiled to myself. I think it’s working!
Jenny, Trainee Teacher in English at Greensward Academy