As a Newly Qualified Teacher, the turn of month from August to September brought trepidation, but also the perhaps naive belief that I am now embarking on a career in which I will positively impact on the lives of countless young people. The thought that I would solely be accountable for the progress of over 300 pupils in my subject rather terrifying, however after the endless planning and observation throughout my PGCE training year, I felt ready.
As it is now the end of the second week of term, I have realised that although I may have felt ready on that first day, I have a lot still to learn. Over the past year I have constantly been told that a teacher who feels that they have learnt all that there is to learn about the profession, should no longer be a teacher. Towards the end of my PGCE, I felt as though there was nothing more I could be told about AfL, the importance of data, or the need to differentiate. However, the reality of the situation is that the more you teach, the more you realise you can improve.
I have already made mistakes, and reflected upon the success of my introduction lessons with key stage 3, 4 and 5. I wish that I could turn back time and have remembered to include certain things in my first lessons. I wish that I could have worded some of my explanations slightly differently to have avoided those thirty confused faces looking back at me when I was explaining what their first homework was. I wish that I had praised the pupils who quietly got on with the task set whilst others tried to distract them. However, on the whole, my first two weeks have gone well. All the pupils I teach know the boundaries and know not to push them (although I am sure that they will on countless occasions once the start of term good behaviour has worn off). All the pupils know that I am passionate about my subject. But most importantly, I really hope they appreciate that I am ultimately aiming to provide them with the best education that I can.
Over the next few weeks, my main aim is to learn the names of the hundreds of pupils that I teach. As key stage 3 pupils in my school only have my subject once per week, I have over 300 pupils in that key stage alone, and when they are in their school uniform they can look very similar, so learning names is no easy task. I have always felt sorry for the pupils who are not particularly high or low attaining, do not have an additional need or do not crave attention, as they tend to be the ones whose names are not learnt until well into October, possibly even beyond half term. This is something that I want to avoid.
So this weekend will be spent largely planning for my key stage 5 classes and also the lessons of the second subject that I am teaching. I have high hopes for this year and so far so good.