Inservice day done and first week with the children are complete. It’s always a thought to get back into the term after the long and very enjoyable summer holidays and like every school we really hit the ground running. There is always a vast amount of information that needs shared across the whole staff in a short space of time and our illustrious HT and I were chatting about how daunting this must be as a probationer teacher; goodness knows it’s hard enough to process and retain even when you have been doing the job a wee while.
We have three probationer teachers with us this year and a new teacher in the nursery class which means that over 25 % of our teaching staff has changed this year. Some of our staff attended a 3 day course on Designing for Learning during the summer break and were keen to use some community builders that they had learned with the staff and we were encouraged to share our name, something interesting about our name and something you would recommend from your holidays. From those three innocuous questions and the little bit of banter and discussion that led from it, to my shame, I learned more about some of our staff team than I had known after working with them all last session. It’s not that we hadn’t talked, of course we had, but we had only spoken about work and the children they worked with and not about them as people.
Teaching is a personal job and it relies on a whole person working with classes and pupils. I have always been a great believer that the children I work with should know that I am a real person and that our illustrious HT doesn’t just wheel me into a cupboard at half three and bring me out again in the morning. It is also imperative that a work life balance is struck – if all you do is work and sleep than you are not much use to the children in front of you. We have spoken to all our new teachers about trying to achieve that balance. Learning to prioritise is key but with out a great deal of teaching experience how do you tell what is more important when everything is new? I will consider it one of my key roles as a mentor to assist in this prioritisation and ensuring that whole people with sufficient energy and enthusiasm are working with our children .
PS we also finished our Inservice day watching this which you also might enjoy if you have never seen it before.