So it turns out this teaching business takes up more time than you think! I cannot believe it has been five months since I have done a blog post, but then when I think of all of the things that have happened in those five months I think I can be forgiven.
There have been quite a few milestones of teaching that have happened in this short space of time and I’ll go through the highs and lows so sit back, relax and enjoy the read!
The first.. I graduated 🙂 We had a lovely PGCE graduation in the Wills memorial building in Bristol. It was a truly lovely day of celebrations! Here is a picture of myself and two very important fellow teachers. Without these two the journey would have looked very different.
December: the women and men in suits came to visit. Within three weeks I was interviewed by an HMI for the TeachFirst Ofsted and also observed by the very same HMI in the following weeks for our much anticipated school Ofsted.
The TeachFirst interview allowed me to be fiercely defensive over my training route. I was able to show exactly how proud I am of my journey and how thankful I am for the oodles of support I have received along the way. My mentors, headteacher, colleagues, friends and peers have been a non-stop port of call for any problems or wobbles I may have had during my journey and they continue to do so. Of course TeachFirst has its perceived flaws to those who are not au fair with the inner workings of it. There is an argument that TeachFirst teachers do exactly that, they dabble in teaching before they turn to a better-paid job however that is not my experience. Many of my friends are staying in teaching for a third year in their schools simply because they have fallen in love with the profession. There may be some doubters still but in the current climate, getting people through the door to teaching has got to be helping the shortage! Hang on, what was I saying? Oh yeah, the interview with Mr Ofsted – I secretly enjoyed the heated discussions because it proved how much I appreciate everything everyone has done for me along my journey and I couldn’t recommend it more to those with a passion for teaching (who also have an abundance of resilience).
The school Ofsted. What can I say? It was an experience and a half. I know I am completely biased but the school I work in cannot be described by Ofsted descriptors. It is phenomenal. The relationships the pupils have with the teachers are magical and over 40% of these pupils are pupil premium and live in a very deprived area. What the school and teachers do for their pupils is way above and beyond what happens in the classroom. For this reason, when we were waiting for the verdict I found myself going from the most positive outlook “we are going to skip a grade and be outstanding” to completely doubting the system “they are going to make us inadequate”. For a period of time I completely lost all faith in the system. I was angry at the fact that I couldn’t show on paper how a child has gone from not putting their hand up to being able to deliver a 5 minute presentation. I was at a loss looking through my books and thinking – “oh no Little Susie has not responded to my feedback in green pen, the school will fail because of me. “ It was a horrible horrible time. Thankfully the school got its more than deserved “good” grading, although in my eyes that is like telling Usain Bolt that he is “good” at running, but as I said, I’m openly biased.
Following the inspections, school was a much happier place to be. Finally the staff have the recognition they deserve, the news was delivered to the pupils’ and we continued our day to day ‘goodness’ that we can now happily bask in.
A couple of weeks into this academic year I was approached by a group of year 9 girls for the best part of my (short) teaching career so far. It was a brief moment, and to them they may not even remember but to me it is everything. They came after school, armed with green options booklets and uttered the words “Miss what should I choose so I can go to university?”
My heart melted. Two of these girls were causing me a lot of trouble at the beginning of last year, very bright girls but my god they loved to wind each other and myself up. Fast forward a year and her they are asking me for advice on GCSE choices so they can go to university. They asked what I did, which uni I went to and asking how can they get there. We had a good half an hour of navigating the option blocks with their fresh careers in mind. Conversations about their potential and promises from them on how hard they are going to work followed and they left the room with a clearer future in mind and I was left feeling incredible. I cant really pin point why but it was simply an awesome moment.
I’ll stop chatting now but I do have lots more that has happened however they warrant their own blog post. Things include: teaching sex-ed nightmares, a masters all about marking and future career prospects!
Thanks for reading!
Miss White x