A whole day?
It’s been a month since my last booking. We’ve had the Christmas holidays and we are into a new year. It’s 2014, and I’m feeling hopeful and positive about continuing on my path back to teaching.
It’s been almost 3 weeks since the kids went back to school. I get the call from my agent a few days in advance, asking me to work. I say yes, but now I start getting nervous. It is at a new school. Previously I’ve worked 3 times at the same school and each time it has been an afternoon. This was a school I’d never been to before, and it was a WHOLE day! Yes, somewhere new AND a whole day. I kept going over it in my mind.
“You’ll be fine”, my husband says, using his most common phrase. I believe he may be an optimist. I however, I am not! I worry, and think, and worry, and think, until I convince myself it is a very bad idea and that something will surely go wrong.
Nevertheless, the day comes, and I find myself feeling slightly sick as I get dressed. Which in itself is rather challenging! My wardrobe for the last few years has consisted of jeans, stripy tops and jumpers. I had to buy a pair of ‘work trousers’ before I began a few months ago, and have been rotating tops that look smart enough to wear with them ever since.
It comes time to leave. I know where the school is and allow myself plenty to time to get there. It’s actually not too far, but it’s the parking I worry about. There’s never enough parking for staff at schools as it is. I also like to avoid the complication of trying to get access. Making it as simple and inconspicuous as possible helps me to feel less anxious!
I get there and look through the planning. The teacher next door speaks to me about the day, and I nod along pretending I understood everything she said. I have to ask for assistance after attempting to set up the whiteboard and projector.
The children come in and I try to hide my nerves. I’ve heard I’m quite good at doing this. Of course, I don’t believe it when I’m told though! I do the register and stumble through the lunch time register which I haven’t done before. It’s rather embarrassing when the children correct me as I do it wrong!
We then go to assembly. I seek the Teaching Assistant’s directions to the hall. I’m sure they expect me not to know, but having to constantly ask questions makes me feel rather silly. I’m grateful for the extra time I have to prepare for the impending maths lesson.
I believe I forgot to mention that it was a Year 1 class. My favourite year group, and one that I have the most experience in teaching. Maths begins and we use the whiteboard for a game. It goes quite well and the children enjoy it. I then introduce the lesson and activity. The TA is helpful and encouraging and I try to not keep looking at her for signs of disapproval, which I assume she will be demonstrating.
Anyway, the day goes on and lunch time comes. I stay in the classroom as it is more comfortable for me than finding the staff room where I would either make awkward conversation, or be ignored. I make a phone call to my husband who is looking after our youngest. I suddenly miss being at home and its familiarity, and of course my little girl, who I now feel very guilty for leaving (although she is probably much happier being with her Daddy for a change!).
The afternoon comes and we have an art activity. I assume this will be nice and simple. However one of the challenges is that I have never been much of an artist, but good enough to demonstrate to a Year 1 class! I was too presumptuous, as I quickly realised I was out of practice with my classroom organisation and let’s just say it was a bit bumpy. I had to keep stopping the class and adding instructions.
It wasn’t a disaster however, and the day soon came to a close. I was grateful for the TA’s assistance in dismissing the children. In fact she just stood at the door and did it herself as she knew the children and their parents which obviously made sense! At the previous school the TA ran the after school club, so I had to do it alone.
Everyone was polite and kind. They received my disclaimer well (the one where I say I’m new back into teaching), which I was grateful to be able to use again! The day felt very long, but I had survived and it was yet another experience to ease me back in until my next encounter! Would it be better, or worse?