My first twinge at missing my old job.

Now I really don’t regret leaving my my old job. I would never, ever return to my NQT post for love nor money. I struggled, but I didn’t hate it. It just wasn’t the place for me. There were too many cliques, I never felt good enough, every lesson observation was ‘just not there yet…’, the work load was unbearable, the hour commute even more so. There was constant changes to marking policies, book scrutinies, unachievable appraisal targets, constant pressure and humongous stress. I didn’t sleep at night properly, I could never relax- always feeling guilt that I should be lesson planning, marking, in putting data etc. Plus, I had the constant challenges of working in a deprived area of Yorkshire with a 92% EAL intake. I felt like I was constantly treading water, using all of my energy just to keep myself my drowning. There was no way that I could have continued like that. At times I felt like I was loosing my sanity.

Fast forward to now: A class of 5 children, an earlier finish time, an exact seven minute drive from my house, lovely colleagues who don’t know the meaning of the word clique, an unnaturally supportive Head, a higher paying salary, more creative control, no traditional assessments, time to do planning each day and genuinely a much more rewarding job.

However, today my old colleagues were told which year group/ class that everyone would be having from September and it was all over Facebook (I still have a love/ hate relationship with the thing). For the first time since I left I felt like I was being excluded from this really cool club. Everyone was commenting on each other’s statuses, saying how excited they were for next year, how they couldn’t wait for September and how ‘amazing’ it was going to be. I realised that I have truly and once and for all left the place where I did my NQT and RQT years and that I was no longer part of ‘The Family’. And I must admit, I felt a little bit sad. I no longer had a right to comment, I didn’t know what the little in jokes were that people were mentioning and if I’m honest, I don’t really know my old colleagues anymore and they don’t know me.

But after a guilt free cup of tea while watching telly, a nice after work stroll with my baby, then playing with him in the garden, plus only writing 6 reports- I realised that yes, I did feel a little twinge of sadness that I was no longer at my old job and that it’s ok, because I did have some good times there. But ‘some good times’ can never compare to my job now, where I have a lot of good times in my school life and many more good times in my home life. Plus my sanity.

I am no longer tread walking. I was doing a nice leisurely breast stroke and it feels so, so good.

First official lesson observation…. not too pleased with the results.

So I had my first lesson observation and feedback today and although it’s only week 4 of full teaching, I was a little disheartened. Out of 10 areas I got 4 ‘Goods’ and 6 ‘Room for improvement.’ The first thing my mentor said was not to worry about the Room for improvement column as he had observed me under the new OFSTED guidelines, which I know are a lot tougher, and that lots of the teachers were in that column at the moment, but still, I couldn’t help feeling a little upset/ worried/ scared/ stressed.

The main thing is that I was given fantastic feedback- all the things I need to improve on are achievable and things that I hadn’t even thought of (or worse- had thought of, but hadn’t got around to doing- loops!). So next time I know exactly what to do to improve. The main ‘biggie’ was the fact that everyone was doing the same work. It was a practical activity- and I am kicking myself that I didn’t even adapt the exercise even slightly- seeing as I used the word DIFFERENTIATION a thousand times a day on my PGCE course. If that’s one tip I can give you ALWAYS make sure you differentiate. I told my mentor that the practical activity was a form of assessment, which is was, which is why I had them all doing the same and he agreed with my thinking and said that he could now see why I had chose to do it in my lesson, but I know next time, differentiation will be the first thing that he is looking for.

So let’s get the bad things out of the way first:

  • I didn’t differentiate the practical activities . (ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS differentiate)
  • The noise levels at the practical activities was quite loud (a noise-o-meter will now be used).
  • There wasn’t much assessment during the lesson (White board work will now be done on the carpet. “Write the answer on your white board. Hold it up. Let me see.”)
  • The pupils didn’t achieve the objective. Higher ability too easy, lower ability too hard

That was the gist of the negatives. Now the positive:

  • Good behaviour management in the classroom- children listen to me and know what is expected of them.
  • Lovely atmosphere in the classroom. Great vibes, children enjoy learning and my passion for teaching really comes across.
  • Good time management in lessons.
  • Good relationship and use of of other adults in the classroom.

So now I just need to remember all the improvements for my next observation…. The joy!

Problems with the new girl already….?

I went into school for the first time today with the one of the other NQTs and I really liked her, we spoke lots without any awkward silences and it was great to have another person there. It wasn’t until I came home and were telling my mum and sister about my day that they both had the same reaction, ‘Ooooh, I’d be careful around her’, ‘I can’t stand people like that.’ etc.

Basically, there were a few things that happened today that I didn’t even think about until it was brought to my attention and now I don’t know if I’m being influenced by my family, being too relaxed about things or being a little too petty.

So the first thing was we needed laminating pouches. We are both in doing displays for our classroom and need to laminate a lot of things as we are both starting from scratch. She is in KS2 and I’m in KS1 but our classrooms are quite close. The Year 6 teacher was in so new NQT girl (let’s call her Nat) asked her for laminating pouches, I said ‘Oh I need some too please.’ The year 6 teacher came back with two brand new packs of 200 pouches and said that’s all she could get hold of until Sept. Cue Nat taking them off her and immediately stashing the 400 pouches in her desk drawer. I asked if I could have some and she handed me a few. The first thing my mum said was ‘didn’t she give you a pack of 200? You should have asked for a pack.’ I didn’t think anything of it, I got everything I wanted laminated today- but still need to do a lot more.

Next her classroom already has lots of generic displays, e.g., Birthday wall, days of the week/ months etc. My teacher has changed to another local school so took all her generic displays with her. I didn’t want to do a normal balloon or written months for my birthday wall so searched the web to do a big sun flower. The flower says Class 1x birthdays and each leave coming off the stalk is a different month and the children’s names are on lady birds which are stuck on the leaves. I really liked it because it’s original and makes a great display. After I had completed the display, Nat came into my classroom was was like ‘Oh my God- that’s fab. I’m going to do that. Write down where you go all your resources from.’ I said I couldn’t remember. So she said, ‘That’s alright, I’ll just google it.’ I reminded that she already had a birthday wall up and not to go through any more trouble, but she said it wasn’t very ‘birthday-e’. When I left she was printing off a sun flower head.

I also made a welcome sign, which she saw and said ‘Oh, I never thought to do one that jazzy. Did you make it yourself? I’ll have to do one like that.’

And lastly each class has a house point system. I spent absolutely ages making my own designs for the four houses and Sod’s Law my computer was down, so I had to print off Nat’s computer. Again, she saw my charts up on the computer and asked if I would print a set out for her. This did rattle me as I had spent so long making them, but honestly, what do you do when someone asks you that on the spot? ‘No sorry, it took me all Sunday night.’ (?!)Image

I hadn’t thought anything of all this because I was so busy today, but I’m worried she might be one of those people who will steal your ideas and pass them off as her own. I know these are only petty things and i’m actually embarrassed writing it down her as a professional teacher, but I know if you’re not too careful these things can escalate. 

So for now, I’m going to watch my back, try not to show her any displays in my classroom and wait until she’s gone to put any new displays up