Looking forward to being on time

12th September 2003 at 01:00
Looking back, I'm glad I didn't know how much I didn't know. Maybe I was a particularly dim newly-qualified teacher last year. But the blinkers have now come off, although the rose-tinted spectacles of the new boy are still firmly in place.

You see, I'm really looking forward to my second year of teaching. I believe that it might be the most enjoyable one I'll ever have.

I've still got all the enthusiasm that comes with a new career. Plus now I know where I want to stack the geography books.

It wasn't the difference between a connective and a conjunction that left me in the dark during my first year. It was the craft of the job: the combination of shortcuts and trust in my own judgment of what was and was not important.

The knowledge that it is not worth getting stressed when the time allotted to something like personal, health, social and citizenship education is, shall we say, trimmed a little, now and then, to make way for other priorities. Like making sure that the children are learning the really important stuff; or are saving me time and effort by sticking their worksheets into their books.

Another big reason to smile is that I will be teaching the same year-group again: Year 4. They're lovely, Year 4s, aren't they? Old enough to share a laugh, but not deluded yet into thinking that they're stroppy teenagers. No wonder I'm happy.

Oh, and I've also got all of last year's plans on computer.

When I started the year, I was very concerned about getting all my plans down on paper in just the right meaningless jargon. Planning took forever.

If I wasn't planning, I was worrying about how to keep control of the children in the class: Matthew just seemed incapable of not talking; and Linda could lose her temper at the merest glance from another girl.

Teaching method came a poor third. Time spent thinking about detailed delivery of the lesson was restricted to my walk to work and my descent of the stairs to pick the kids up from the playground: late, again. I am resolved to do a bit more than just change the dates on last year's lesson plans. Honest.

While I spent many a leisurely session baking my skin during the glorious summer, little improvements kept popping into my head. Just like they do for any experienced teacher.

If the new, organised me keeps it up, my class of Year 4s might even find itself being collected from the playground promptly after lunch.

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