On probation

22nd August 2008 at 01:00

Earlier this week, I was looking forward to the official start of my career as a primary school teacher, when I would be presented with my own classroom and 25 children preparing to be educated. Back in June, when I visited my new school for the first time, the headteacher informed me I would be teaching a P7 class, who were quite a challenging and boisterous lot.

My initial feelings were panic, how was I ever going to survive the year ahead. During this visit, I had the opportunity to meet my new class. It was a very intimidating experience, and all I could think about was: are they going to like me?

Immediately, I could see how this class might prove a challenge - one child told me he hated school and was always "bad" in class. Other children were generally more inquisitive about me: "So are you our new teacher?", "Are you strict?"

After leaving the school that day, I had mixed feelings, but I told myself to keep positive and look forward to the challenges. I also remember thinking I had the whole summer to prepare and I would be fine, come the start of term.

I cannot believe how fast the summer has gone; it only feels like yesterday when I completed my PGDE course. All those late nights studying and lesson planning have now got to be put into practice for real. The feelings I am experiencing are not too dissimilar to those I had in June. Even my summer night-time reading of Getting the buggers to behave and How to survive your first year in teaching has not done a lot to change this.

In one respect, I feel enthusiastic and excited about getting started; yet in another, I cannot help feeling terrified. Talking to fellow probationers and experienced teachers has proved invaluable for my confidence, as they have reassured me that my feelings are normal.

In the week leading up to the start of term, I had so many thoughts. How should I arrange my classroom? Where should I seat the children? How will I remember their names? Will I get on with my mentor? How will I enthuse and excite the children about the year ahead? I hope I can soon answer these questions positively and be well on the way with my new career.

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