Wednesday, 21 May 2014

I survived!

The first day, that is. For some reason I feel a massive sense or achievement - is that a bit sad? Here are the things I learnt from today (typical teacher - turning everything into a learning opportunity):

1. Plan more than you need
The afternoon really dragged - I was watching the clock intently willing the minutes to go past, purely because halfway through I realised I hadn't planned enough for the children to do and I knew I'd have a lot of time filling (read: wasting) to do.

2. Learn the fire drill procedures
A stale but important point. Luckily I'd been warned yesterday, but we had a fire drill today and there were a lot of little details of things I wouldn't know how to do if I hadn't found out.

3. Don't talk until it's silent
If they think you don't care if they're listening or not, they never will. 

4. Ask your TA about good/bad children combinations
Obviously only applicable if a) you have a TA and b) the TA knows the children well. I paired the children together today without knowledge of their relationships and found myself dealing with a few arguments and boisterous duos.

5. Find a book to read them - and be engaging with it!
I'm talking silly voices, actions and pulling faces - the kind of stuff my friends would cringe at. Who knew Year 6s would love being read to just as much as the little ones? It's a great time filler when you have a spare 10 minutes. Also, the type of age-appropriate books you'd be reading (I'm reading Anthony Horowitz to Year 5/6) will most likely contain the type of language you'd like them to use in their writing.

6. Have a list of maths and literacy games in your mind - or on your note board!
Obviously great as starters, but also for those spare few minutes before the bell... If you have any! (Clearly I need to plan more)

7. Don't rely on the laptop - have a back up plan
Sod's law, the laptop decided to freeze this afternoon - and I was relying on it for two activities! I had to think on my feet, but would have been better if I had some alternative things planned (hence the time filling/wasting as mentioned above).

8. Get to know the kids
An obvious one. I ended up having a 10 minute conversation today about Minecraft and a gaming YouTuber. Neither of which I knew anything about (I'm a good blagger). They will soon know that you actually do care about them.

So that's eight lessons learnt in day one! If this carries on, by the end of this term I'll have 112 under my belt! (8 x 14 = 112, right? My brain is frazzled)

I got in at 9pm today - went to my second job straight after school at 6.30! It's now 10pm and I still need to plan. I should probably get off this blog but it's just so cathartic...

Find me on Twitter at @Miss_RQT (previously @MissNQT)


  1. Chalk today up as a success.
    With experience comes the ability to fill (waste) time when needed - but time can be wasted productively. (Is that an oxymoron!?)
    Stories are great - I find with Y5/6 not only read quality books but tell stories, invent them and create them with the children.
    Good model for writing too. I ask them pick a character, location and 3 objects then I tell (invent) a story that combines them - then after one or two installments get them to continue it.
    It really works and you can set it up to avoid 'MineCraft Steve' or 'Call of Duty' if you really want to!
    God speed to you - Bring on Day 2!

    1. Thanks for the idea - I shall be using that at some point!

  2. All of the above make very good sense. I am coming to the end of my PGCE in post 16 teaching (at the tender age of 49) and it is surprising how much of my world is similar to yours. I feel for you and concur re point 7. I had the same thing happen to me on the day of an observation, I had even taken the precaution of bringing two laptops. unfortunately the whole system had crashed and I had nothing in hard copy as a backup. The consequences were dyer and I ended up getting graded 4 as I turned into a gibbering wreck. But learn from these things, the following observation got a 2 and I did not need the myriad of hard copy resources that I had prepared as backup, but I can use them elsewhere in the future. I am also a Governor at my local primary and know that good CPD makes a difference. We had an NQT begin in September and was initially getting grades of 4. With good support and good CPD she was recently graded outstanding during the dreaded visit by OFSTED, so take any opportunity offered for further development