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Student talk

After six weeks of intense theory and paperwork at university, it was time for my first placement at nursery school. I couldn't wait to hear where I'd be placed, how far I'd have to travel and what the teachers and school would be like.

Once I knew the location, I felt apprehensive and excited, and hoped I would survive the challenges. One of my first thoughts was relief that I would have an extra hour in bed, because the school was at the end of my street.

The night before I started, I lay awake pondering over all kinds of negative thoughts - what if the children didn't like me? what if the teacher thought I was inadequate?

On the first day, as I made the short 300-yard walk to the nursery, I noticed that many of the children lived in my building. I would realise over the next three weeks that they knew exactly were I lived and would come knocking at my door.

It was strange being addressed by my surname, or "Sir", during our meetings at the shops or when I was hanging my clothes out on the washing line. They had a real interest in me as their teacher, which was something I had not anticipated.

Day one was nerve-wracking at first, but I really enjoyed it. The staff were extremely helpful and the whole environment was pleasant and enjoyable to work in. On one occasion, the children thought it would be funny to scare me while I was preparing materials in the corner - they came up from behind and shouted "BOO!" which really startled me. One child in particular noticed this and asked me if they had scared the s*** out of me. They were fun and a boisterous lot.

I was enjoying my life as a student teacher and this was reinforced by how clever, funny and inquisitive the children were with me. Over the next few weeks, I could see all the theory from university in practice and it was finally beginning to make some sense.

My life now consisted of early mornings and late nights, planning and preparation and a lot of paperwork. It was all worth it, though, to create a positive, fun and rewarding experience in the classroom.

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