So it’s been a bit of a hiatus? Apart from being busy – what has kept me away from blogging is that there are so many damn bloggers out there with a million and one things to say that by the time I read a couple each night I don’t really have anything new to say.
Ha! Nothing new to say? Well I thought this ‘comeback’ post might interest you. Before you read any further think about what your first year of teaching like? What was the first few months like?
A walk in the park? Lol, this year has been bloody hard – and the trouble with explaining it on a blog is that I obviously can’t make anything too ‘personal’ and have to talk in generalities. But if you want to reminisce then carry on reading.
By far the hardest thing, without a shadow of a doubt is classroom management. I think my favourite line so far when ‘talking’ to a pupil is: “It is your choice” I love taking myself outside the equation and putting the decision as to what happens in their hands. But honestly, I don’t know how many times I have used this line and how often it works. Some kids just don’t get it. I also totally agree with the whole don’t crack a smile till Christmas – maybe a bit severe but it’s the right idea. If you give an inch they take a mile. Everytime. And I do seem to be constantly reining them in – making sure they know the boundaries. But hey – there’s always next year.
A positive though – never ever under estimate the value of your colleagues. If you are an experienced teacher no matter how you teach, us newbies always want to learn from you. If you have only been teaching a year more than me, I still want to learn from you and any little nugget of information or experience is like gold dust for people like me who are finding our way in teaching. When I have a crap class, the best thing about it is waving ‘bye’ to the kids and talking to other teachers.
I don’t mind admitting that I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster and I bet you were too during your first year (maybe you still are). One week I’m full of energy with great new ideas, lessons prepared to the max. Others I am shattered, wondering why the hell I attempt to teach certain pupils as it seems to have little effect. Most weeks I middle out – a sort of working normality with a couple of cool lessons, generally making progress. Sometimes I like to be experimental – other times I wish I had an overhead projector to copy from and textbook to work through.
I’m definitely finding out what type of teacher I am. I thought at the start of all this I would be going down a pastoral route and in many ways I am. I genuinely want to ‘look out’ for kids and make sure they are OK. But more than that – I enjoy it when things work. I enjoy the learning and teaching that goes on day in and day out, I like seeing ways I can make it better. And I particularly like it when the kids respect me cos they can’t get away with messing around. By no means am I any good at it – but I can see myself in a couple of years getting better at it and running a tightly managed classroom where real and worthwhile learning takes place.
But for my final question that has been perplexing me just now and believe me I am no cynic. I seriously doubt that for some kids I or any teacher do the blindest bit of good for. No matter how much we try, the resources and effort we put in place. Even if it is as good as anyone anywhere can get. Some kids will not want to learn, do not want to be taught and will either placate you and then continue to mess around aimlessly or deliberately go out their way to be disruptive. And it is these kids I loose the most sleep over (although tbh I’m too tired usually to actually loose sleep – it’s just a phrase). I will always try to teach these kids, constantly chipping away at the hard exteriors. I try to focus more on success in responsibility or citizenship or mamging to complete some work. But I really do wonder, when those type of kids walk out the school door does any of it make the blindest bit of difference?
I guess I’ve got the rest of my life to find out