Reflect On Your Experience Of Your First Term
The little things I never thought of, such as a piping hot mug of tea after back-to-back lessons when you felt your voice starting to go. Successfully timing toilet visits for those morning and afternoon breaks so you are always at the classroom before the students arrive. Perhaps most importantly, getting in early enough to do your photocopying so that you don’t need to start it just as the Head addresses everyone in the staffroom! (oops). It has been overwhelming at times, learning so much daily and being so busy. However, I have enjoyed the first term immensely and I am very happy with my decision to re-train and be a maths teacher.
When I started looking back at my old maths notes, I thought that teaching the higher-level work would be most challenging. I soon realised, the most challenging aspect for me is to teach the lower-ability students the fundamentals and being creative with how I explain things. Observing different teachers and classes has helped me to develop my skills to tackle these situations. My home school has been very supportive and challenged me to teach across the age and ability ranges. My favourite class to teach was the Y10, set 4 class although I’m sure the Head of Maths saved up the units of work where I had to use compasses and protractors, find enough rulers and sharp pencils etc. Logistically, teaching in different rooms has been challenging. If I had a pound for every time a student told me their whiteboard pen had run out!
The hardest thing for me has been juggling the long days and evenings (lesson planning) around my young family. I learnt quickly to be well organised and efficient with any free time. Marking 35 books or tests quickly and accurately is a skill I need to master. The key for me has been to have good routines: no work on Sunday, complete early Saturday morning if possible; spend time with my kids playing as soon as I get home; get some exercise (even if 10 minutes) and then get those lessons planned.
The highlight of the first term occurred yesterday when a Year 7 student gave me a thankyou card for helping develop his maths skills. He said that maths is now his favourite subject which tells me I must be doing fine. If I’m honest, I would have liked to stay a bit longer at my home school before the alternate placement as I had built good relationships with staff and students. However, I know the alternate placement will be good for me, and I will teach with a positive attitude, hoping learn as much as I can in a different environment.
By Jonathan Glynn