Mist and mayhem, but it's fun

6th July 2007 at 01:00
I am now nine months into my teaching career, and although I still have 10,000ft to climb, I feel I can now see the road ahead. The mist that clouded my first term is slowly but surely melting away. The things that have taken me by surprise are chiefly those all other teachers seem to know instinctively.

I am not sure if I didn't see these things due to my inexperience as a teacher, or my lack of offspring. It was probably a combination of the two. My first school trip was a jaunt to a branch of the Natural History Museum. I was excited about this, my class's first adventure together. It was only on the day that I realised there would be nowhere for their lunches to be stored. Of course, it should have been obvious to tell them to bring their lunch in a disposable bag.

Unfortunately, that is exactly the kind of thing that is only obvious to a teacher in their second year the year after the first disaster. So the coach driver was waiting, looking a little on the angry side. "Who has their lunchbox? What do you mean you left it behind? Why didn't you pick it up when I told you to? Did you not hear me say it 10 times?" Needless to say next year they will all have disposable lunches.

I was also excited about teaching science, which seemed a joyous, practical subject. During training you are advised and encouraged to enrich the subject with every hands-on experience there is just give them the equipment and away they go. It seemed easy. So why did the other teachers end up with tidy, practically laid out and precise science investigations and I got a page of notes covered in soil and water?

The other teachers had done this before and they knew soil, water and seven year-olds didn't go hand in hand with orderly science experiments.

However, this is one situation where I favour my inexperience. Thirty children in my class carried out an investigation. Thirty children did it fairly and used all manner of equipment and, best of all, I heard this: "I really like science since we started doing the experiments, especially writing it up it's fun". Now that clears the mist better than anything else I've learned this year

Claire Bunce is a new teacher in Slough

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