Wow – what a whirlwind! Now where to start. It feels like it was only yesterday that I walked through the doors to the National Forest Teaching school and my home school. Now, I’ve survived my first half term, and oh what a feeling that is.
The first couple of weeks were our ‘settling-in’ weeks now as I look back. To me they played a vital part of my teaching, these two weeks allowed me to, through observations, see what actual teachers do, as I think there are lots of speculation and ideas created on what we a think they must do and let me tell you, no two teachers are the same. All the observing and seeing the students I would be taking over to teach, were setting off ideas in my head constantly and I was always scribbling notes down that I wanted to take away for myself, for my future teaching. There was always that daunting element of walking into new classes, as to the students I was nobody. However, I found the most powerful tool during these observations start building relationships with the pupils. During the first two weeks I was given the opportunity to do a couple of small starter activities with a couple of classes and I planned these to within an inch of my life, because that’s what you feel is necessary and needed – you just want it to be perfect. For a first timer who had never stood up in front of 3 pupils, I was a nervous wreck but also relieved afterwards as I could tick that off the list. Could things have gone better? Yes. Could things have gone worse? Yes. Did I learn from it? Yes. That is the greatest part is that you learn from everything you do.
Then came the most exciting and dreaded words, ‘next week I want you to start teaching Year 8’. Well, that was a whole bag of emotions right there. I felt like I didn’t have a clue what to do and I was excited to be released into the wild but also scared that I’d be eaten alive. So off I went, I put my big girl pants on and embarked the planning train. The train that can take you to so many different places and if you don’t jump off quick enough you can get taken to lots of different places that are great but not needed; but that was all part of the fun and learning process. This class were great, and they responded to me as their new teacher just how I wanted, and this made me feel so much more relaxed, at ease and confident because after all they were mine for the next 8 weeks or so.
I was then given the new responsibility of teaching another new class, I was so excited as I had been enjoying what I had been doing with Year 8 so far, that I just wanted to keep going. But my goodness, teaching for four hours at first was very tiring and stressful as I didn’t want to get it wrong, but then I reminded myself I am training and even the best of the best gets things wrong sometimes, and that’s ok. By half term I had three classes all from different year groups under my wing to teach.
Beginning teaching has activated a lot of emotions and thought processes. I thought I was one of the most organised people ever, oh no how wrong I was! The organisation of a teacher is on another level, it is something to be admired but also something you must have complete control of when taking on the challenge yourself. To my joy I have really enjoyed taking my organisation to a whole new level and it has really benefitted me when it comes to my planning and executing of lessons. I never thought I would be able to do this thing called teaching, as I’ve never been much of a public speaker, I usually tremble so much that the words just don’t come out my mouth at all and so I was so worried that I would do this in my first few lessons and become a failure. However, the support I have been given has been a credit, and who knew that standing up in front of young adults was a lot less daunting than us big scary adults. I knew before I started this that it would not be easy, and I’d be lying now if I said it was, what it is though is rewarding; seeing all that work and effort that you’ve put into the lessons and the students and seeing their lightbulbs moments, seeing them making progress and feeling proud of their work really is such a fantastic feeling.
Now we roll in to the second half of the term, with a little more confidence and a little less worry. Something I will take with me to every lesson is that mistakes are good, you can learn and grow from them, they can inspire you to go on and make things even greater. Now I’ve took a quick moment to reflect on my journey so far, I’m hopping back onto that planning train to create some lessons.