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…