Once I'd completed my PGCE and managed to find a job at an inner-London primary school, I knew there'd be long hours, lots of paperwork, difficult colleagues, disruptive pupils, a lack of resources and uninterested parents. But the training had prepared me, and to some extent I'd experienced those things on placements. But it was all still a shock to the system.
The school was well-organised and friendly, and Ifelt straight away that I was welcome and that those around me were concerned about my welfare. My classroom was well-stocked and the departing reception teacher had left me many of her hand-made resources.
As for the children, I had it all worked out. I'd have a zero-tolerance attitude to behaviour and we would start with the class rules and routines on day one. This, I hoped, would go some way towards dealing with all the behaviour problems and general lack of motivation I was bound to encounter.
So imagine my surprise when a collection of beautiful, keen, receptive and generally well-behaved four-year-olds entered my life.
In the following weeks, all the behaviour charts and rewards systems I'd laboured hard over became redundant.
My modest attitude to the development of my pupils stems partly from disbelief that I could have transformed them single-handedly. I remember hearing a delightful class in a very nice area described as "little sponges", and I laughed at the idea that I'd ever encounter such a class in an inner-London primary. But I now think very differently.
My pupils amaze and delight me every day. They always try hard. I never envisaged how much I'd enjoy their company.
Rachel Grant teaches reception at a primary school in south London