Well, I've completed my Primary 4 placement. It proved a mixture of enjoyment, stress and valuable insight into teaching at this level.
My school was in a deprived area of Glasgow which, although it presented difficulties, was an extremely rewarding experience. I really felt I was making a difference to these children's lives.
Teaching seven- to eight-year-old children provided interesting comparisons to teaching infants. Managing pupil behaviour was often at the forefront of daily routines in the classroom.
I found coping with the workload particularly hard during this placement and felt I could never get ahead of the paperwork. To make matters worse, I would spend hours preparing what I felt were "wonderful" lessons, only to watch them spiral out of control.
This stressed me out and I often questioned why I was putting myself through it. However, it all seemed worthwhile when my tutor gave me a glowing report, following her observation.
She said I was making good progress and it was natural to encounter these bad days. As long as I was reflective in my teaching, I would develop strategies to handle them. This really helped to boost my confidence.
I've just begun my final placement - a P7 class. As with the others, the initial few days were nerve-wracking. The lonely existence of not knowing any staff, children or school routines can be daunting. But I don't think this feeling will last, as the class teacher appeared very friendly and supportive and the children seemed an interesting and pleasant lot. I did, however, get a shock when I first entered the classroom, as many of the children were bigger than me - now that was intimidating.
I cannot believe I'm approaching the finishing line of my PGDE course and becoming a provisionally qualified teacher. In just over three months, I will have my own classroom and be presented with my own class.
The thought is terrifying and exciting; I just hope I'll have developed enough skills by then to cope with the new challenge.