Teacher Training Diaries: First Placement.

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Four weeks I ago, I started my first teaching placement. I had been in my home school for seven weeks, I knew the staff, the children and the way the school day worked – I felt prepared. Little did I know that the following month was going to be the hardest, busiest and most tiring month of my life.

The pre-placement stage of my training was a lot of observing, taking notes and settling in to the classroom environment. During this time I still felt like a teaching assistant, I was in my comfort zone and naive about the thought of starting my first placement. On my first day of my placement, I was still very much in the teaching assistant role. On the second day of my placement, it was my turn to teach.

My knees were shaking, my heart was in my throat. I started to panic about the thirty little faces staring up at me from the carpet. I remember thinking why are you scared of a group of five and six year olds? It wasn’t them that I was scared of. It was the realisation that I had a responsibility. To teach these children. To get everything right. Well, I guess I worked myself up, put too much pressure on myself and the result was – my first lesson was a disaster!

My class teacher and mentor informally observed me and she was quite positive considering how bad it really was. We both agreed on the ways forward and I forgot all about it. The next few lessons I taught after that were better, the nerves started to melt away and I actually started to enjoy teaching. My mentor and my course leader came to observe me in my second week and their feedback gave me plenty to work on including deeper questioning when teaching the input to the children, work on pace and transitions within the lesson and most importantly have more faith in myself and have a can-do attitude.

Fast forward four weeks and I am a different teacher entirely to the quivering wreck that I was during those first few lessons. I am more confident, I laugh things off if they go wrong in a lesson now and think on my feet to change them (rather than panic and get myself into a state), and although I have a long way to go, my mentor must believe in my potential or she wouldn’t have let me teach three lessons every morning during my last week on placement and even teach every lesson (Maths, Phonics, English and Science) on one of those days.

I have many ups and downs on this first placement. I have had days which have ended with me in tears wondering if I can actually do this and I have had days which have ended with me humming Christmas play songs at home and smiling about how good my day has been and how much I love to teach. There have been a lot of obstacles that I have overcome to get to the place I am in right now. A few weeks ago I couldn’t plan a lesson, I couldn’t manage the behaviour of thirty children or know how to track pupil progress but now I do and there is still plenty more to learn in these areas and others too.

During the past month, I have seen how strong, confident and capable I can be when I set my mind to it. I have worked through exhaustion and illness to show not only my mentor what I can do but prove to myself that I can actually do this – I can become a qualified teacher. People were not kidding when they said this would be an intense course and the career I am going into is challenging and exhausting but it is also the best decision I have ever made and I know all of my hard work this year will pay off.

I am getting ahead of myself because I’m not even halfway through my course yet and there are plenty more training sessions to have (they resume this week now my official placement is over). But I know how quick this year is going to go and soon I will be a qualified teacher and terrified of having the responsibility of my own class. Although this is a scary thought, I feel a little more hopeful now that with more time, training and guidance, I will get there.

 

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The Danger Of High Expectations.

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We spend a lot of time waiting for things from other people.We’re told from a very young age that we should treat others in the same way that we expect to be treated but sometimes, despite your best efforts with someone, you get nothing in return. In this situation, some people walk away and never look back. Then there are the people that don’t give up, that carry on trying with people because they want to believe that everyone has the same heart as them, I fall into this category.

I know that I’m a nice person, I’m kind, caring and thoughtful. I’m empathetic towards everyone around me and unfortunately, this leaves me open to getting hurt. The biggest problem with being a highly sensitive person is sometimes you give so much to others, that you neglect to take care of yourself. However, I’m learning that even my heart has a limit and I have reached a point where I have to let go.

The image in my mind of how I think certain relationships in my life should be and how my family should look was leaving me emotionally empty. I was going down a path that had no end, searching for a picture-perfect life that wasn’t there. Now, I feel like I am finally at a pinnacle of acceptance. I’m moving on from the childlike family portrait idea that clouded my judgement for so long. Sometimes families fall apart, sometimes it’s people that are in no relation to you that become your family and they show you that blood is not thicker than water after all. Relationships can change over time and not always for the better.

I now know that having high expectations of other people only leads to disappointment. The only expectations I should really have in my life are those of myself. I am the creator of my own life and I should work on improving myself as a person, instead of hoping that those around me fit into a mould of unrealistic expectations. I can’t change another person, no matter how hard I try. We are who we are. We can only change ourselves. Some of us learn from our mistakes but many of us never do.

I’ve learned to accept that I will never have the relationship I wish to have with some members of my family. I’ve realised that I should focus on the good relationships I already have. My life may look a little different to what I originally imagined but there is no reason why I can’t embrace this and be happy.

 

 

Unexpected Situations.

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So yesterday something unexpected happened. I guess I finally realised how horrible some people can be. I mean what sort of person would purposefully hurt someone else, a stranger, someone they had never met? Well, these people exist and I am ashamed to say this person assaulted me whilst I was on the bus. I was getting on the bus, just like I do all of the time, when this girl starts verbally attacking me for no reason, she started to listen to my private conversation that I was having with a friend, she chose to make comments on what I was saying, my appearance and threatened to snap my glasses in half if I carried on looking at her.

I of course asked her what her problem was, I only received more grief. I decided to ignore her from this point by putting my earphones in, but she sat down next to me, tried to take my I pod so I pushed her away. She punched me twice in the face. I didn’t expect it. I didn’t even feel pain. I just froze. Do you know what really disgusts me about this unpleasant experience? It disgusts me that no one, not one person on the bus helped me. Not one. They all just watched. Even when she got off the bus. No one did anything. At this point I had lost all faith in humanity. No one helped me. I felt helpless and I was in shock for quite a while, the update now is that I have filed a report to the police. Hopefully the CCTV has caught her on tape. Even if they do not catch her I am still glad that I told the police.

I guess I have always been the sort of person that walks around in a bubble. Not really noticing things around me. Especially not possible threats or people that are a danger to me. I knew that things like this happened in the world, to other people. But not to me. I never expected it to happen to me. I guess it has made me realise what sort of world we are living in now. It’s a cruel world that is full of cruel people and I really hope that it doesn’t happen to me again. We live in a society now that doesn’t care and it is only going to get worse. I just feel sorry for the next generation and the generation after that. I can’t prepare myself for the unexpected because life just doesn’t work that way. But I can learn lessons. Life is full of lessons. Even if we do not realise what we have learnt from them straight away.

The lesson I have learnt from this experience is to try and be more aware of the world around me. To realise that not all people have kind hearts like me and actually have a desire to help people. People mistake kindness for weakness and I have learnt that I need to stand up for myself a bit more. Be more confident when it comes to confrontation instead of shying away from the difficult situations I come across. Yesterday something unexpected happened and I’m just going to try and forget about it an move on. She didn’t hurt me and I’m probably never going to see her again. I still can’t believe that someone would do that but I guess it’s because I see the good in people rather than the bad and I think, no matter how hard I try – that isn’t going to change because that’s just me.

I may be a flawed human being with my own struggles and my own views on this crazy world but I would never physically hurt another person intentionally. It just isn’t me and I am proud of who I am. I am a good person and even though good people sometimes finish last. Karma will hit that bitch straight in the face one day and I strongly believe that 🙂