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I learned about teaching from that…

So, I’m in training to be a primary teacher and things are heading on the right trajectory in Y5.  I’m consistently hitting the edge of “Good” in my observations and starting to really enjoy life as a teacher.  What happened?  Well to further my training my school decided to put me outside my comfort zone; a term in Year 1!

Scared out of my wits is how I would describe the feeling as I entered the classroom for the first time.  They’re so small, they don’t know anything.  Literally their minds are like sponges ready to soak up all the knowledge I give them.  I’m not ready for this – I don’t know enough myself.  I need my pupils to have some knowledge that I can build on a little bit.  I can feel my life spiralling out of control as I am dragged kicking and screaming into a pit of little people who can smell my fear and lack of experience.

So what changed?  Well sometime before Christmas a lightbulb went on in my head.  I realised that all the planning in the world is no good if your children cannot access the learning.  Slavishly following a med-term plan that wants you to be teaching multiplication to children who cannot recall number bonds to 10 is a recipe for disaster and the lightbulb moment was being told by my deputy head and maths coordinator to peg things back a bit.  Now this was counter-intuitive; the med term plan was the course the ship had to sail and who was I to change direction?  However this intervention gave me the confidence to look at the children’s capabilities and assess their chances of success.  I now use the med term as a guide as to where we want the children to be but also as a signpost to the steps required to get them there.  I also learned to carry out AfL at every opportunity; this now allows me to plan better lessons that suit the needs of my learners rather than the needs of a plan.  Remembering to put the children at the heart of the learning was something so simple that it should not even have been mentioned – how many students forget this in their quests to become outstanding as soon as possible?

As for me, well my last observation was Good with Outstanding features – on a lesson that I didn’t fell was actually that good.  Maybe I am just starting to know what I am doing.  I had to be allowed to fail though…

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