On probation

Tes Editorial

I am over a month into my probationary year as a primary teacher; and what a month it's been. The intensity of the PGDE experience was nothing compared to this. Everything has been so hectic, my "to do" list appears never-ending; with one thing completed, another five are added. Forward plans, assessment, marking and evaluations have been at the forefront of my thinking. I feel I've learnt more in this short time than in my whole postgraduate year.

The PGDE never really prepared me for the actual job of teaching. Something I realised very soon was how much I still had to learn. The detailed planning, daily classroom routines, class groupings, behaviour management, meeting the parents and staff meetings are things I am only getting to grips with.

Arriving at school on the first day, I was greeted by several children in the playground: "So you're the new teacher?" When the school bell rang at 9am, it was finally time for me to meet the children properly, as their new teacher.

The arrangement was for my 0.3 teacher to introduce me to them, then leave me to get on with it In my head, I was pleading for her not to go. But I managed to survive that first day without any major problems. We agreed on class rules and completed some fun "getting to know you" activities. All in all, it was good and I was positive about working with them for the year.

The last few weeks I have been working hard to build good relationships with the children. Starting a school football team has proved a valuable incentive for getting them to behave.

The past month has made me realise the importance of a good mentor and supportive staff. They have provided me with a wealth of ideas and strategies to cope with the challenges. I have found that being honest with colleagues when things are tough does not make you look weak, but helps to make you a better practitioner.

I am about to have my first observation with my mentor. It will bring back the dreaded memories of "crit" lessons at university. I still worry that this will be the time when they say teaching is not for me. However, I will remain positive and continue to work on my new career.

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