The T1 Roller Coaster journey has highlights!

A quick post to reflect on surviving my first term.

It was certainly a roller coaster – one that currently feels like it has been slowed by ploughing through haze of disorganisation, not to mention a paper mountain!

The GTP route certainly prepared me for classroom life. Having observed different teachers settling classes in last year and being practically aware of various pitfalls it didn’t feel that strange to have my own class. In fact it was a relief.

I am my reflective self’s worst enemy. I am constantly reviewing, mentally improving and changing things. It does mean my mind rarely switches off. I know this affects my work life balance I think to the detriment of my own children. I need to address this.

My archilles heels are my maths teaching (I can do things my own kooky way, but have realised I really struggle to explain them clearly and logically) and the not-always-internal battle of wanting to teach with instinct rather than the constraints of “we’ve always done it that way”. Another blog post on the latter coming soon.

So I may have had my knuckles rapped for my classroom being bright and vibrant and my displays being different from the other Y4 classroom. I know I have been in trouble for having a class blog and for inspiring parents to want to come in and be more involved. I know I haven’t taught any outstanding lessons, have a long way to go to complete a lesson with a perfect plenary and to complete a day having fitted everything in without letting my children out slightly late – but I have formed relationships with all of the children in my class. I could tell you one thing each of them is genuinely good at and one thing that they could manageably aspire to achieve this year. I have watched 4 children who made little or no progress last year open and blossom in 7 weeks – this totally inspires me. The power of being able to make a difference and the realisation of the responsibility of this is mind-blowing.

My highlights have been –

  • My Greenhouse display (children made flowers with their own wishes for this year on petals, then parents and I added a leaf each to their flowers, each with a wish) As I put them up on the display some of the messages made me cry. It inspired me to do the best I can for each of those children this year. Will post a photo soon.
  • Maths Activity time – planning the extra, differentiated activities takes time and would be far easier not to do. But children love the 10mins hands on time, it gives me a good opportunity for assessment and I hope by the end of the year their basic skills will have improved.
  • Setting up house groups – having four mixed ability groups has made it easy to change tasks to suit working collaboratively where possible. Children are learning to take roles and work well within these groups. I see these as vitally important life skills worth nurturing this year.
  • My hands on habitats lesson.
  • Learning logs – this deserves and will get its own blog post. The flip side to this success is that because the other class doesn’t do them, I have to keep them ‘secret’ and can’t share them with parents at parents evening.
  • The children in my class starting to log on, comment and start to feel a sense of ownership of their class blog as well as their growing sense of that they are part of a global community.
  • A guided reading session with my more able pupil using a short story I found on the internet. Reading and discussing it together was like unlocking doors to creative wonder.
  • Finding time to read, relax and laugh with my class – I have not been the ‘don’t smile til Christmas’ type of teacher. I believe I am firm and fair but I am human and we certainly feel like an “us” rather than a “me and them” type of classroom. That to me, and my instinct, feels like a pretty good foundation on which to continue building this year.

So as half term creeps on towards me, I have a mountain of marking to complete, next terms planning to sort, a classroom to tidy (I really did walk out tonight at 6 and leave a mess behind), I hope that I find some time to slow down a bit without getting sick!

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