I have been booked for a whole day at a new school. I don’t feel too bad about it. It’s actually the school where I did my last (and most successful) teaching practice years ago when I was training. I feel a little nostalgic. I wonder if I will see any familiar faces. I wonder if anyone will recognise me.
It is not very far and obviously familiar to me, however I still manage to be ridiculously early just in case I can’t find anywhere to park. I sit in the car and attempt to eat some breakfast. There is a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, so it is a challenge. I toss my breakfast biscuits aside and have a sip of my water bottle.
I get out of the car and proceed through the school gates. It all looks rather different. The school has become an Academy since I finished my teaching practice. I tentatively enter the school reception and sign in. I am then shown across the playground to the Reception class where I am to teach for the day.
The teacher is currently in there. This usually puts me at ease, as I can ask any questions and get information from the horse’s mouth. He is an NQT and I find him friendly and supportive. He introduces me to the TA and then leaves to go to his meeting. I begin preparation when I am interrupted by the Assistant Head. There has been a mix up. I will be teaching there, but the teacher has to be observed during the first lesson, so I am asked to assist the Nursery teacher in the meantime.
Feeling relieved that the teaching on the spot moment has been delayed, I enter the Nursery next door. I instantly recognise the teacher but don’t say anything straight away. I shall do it later. She gathers the children together and begins teaching. I sit behind the children and join in with the activity. I enjoy watching some else teach. It encourages me somehow. Maybe this is what I need to do to get back into things. Just observe someone else.
As rhe children break to do their activities, the teacher mentions that I look familiar. I’m shocked as I actually didn’t have that much to do with her and didn’t expect her to recognise me. We had a brief catch up. She is thinking of moving into supply as she is finding the job and having young children too much. This made me feel better. If someone as good and experienced as her can feel like that, maybe my sense of being overwhelmed can be justified. The time was soon over and I continued where I had started that morning.
It was playtime. The TA and I discuss plans for the rest of the morning. The children return to a maths lesson which actually goes quite well. I feel bolstered as I sit down on the teachers chair to eat my lunch. After lunch the children have free choice. The TA goes off to do some jobs and leaves me with the class. I actually prefer this, as I feel more confident without an adult watching. However, she returns briefly to shout at the class for being too loud. I feel instantly undermined, but try to brush it off.
The afternoon feels like it lasts forever. I am essentially managing, but also assisting the play of children I don’t know and actually feel a bit bored. But it’s all practice, as well as money at the end of the day! The going home routine always gets me, as it’s different in every school and have to ask loads of questions, but I have managed to get in my ‘I’m just returning to teaching’ disclaimer, so I feel a bit better. The TA helps to dismiss the children. As I return home, I feel quite positive, for me! I reflect on whether I should do some TA work instead to break me in more gently. But I’ll wait and see what the agency offer me next time…