On Friday 19th October at 2.45pm, the school bell sounded, marking the end of my first half term as an NQT. I had been counting down to that moment since returning to school, however unfortunately it ended on a tough lesson. It was a year 7 lesson, where the students were understandably even more hyper, excitable and chatty than usual on a Friday afternoon, what with my lesson being the only thing between them and the holiday. Unfortunately, that lesson, I was just not in the mood for their chat, pointless questions and interruptions. And by interruptions I mean things such as:
Student: Miss, she has chewing gum!! I saw her chewing!!!
Accused student: No I don’t!
Every other student in the class: She does! She does!
Me (what I wish I could have said): All I want to do is get on with the lesson, to be honest I couldn’t care less if she has chewing gum or not. I’m actually more annoyed at you for thinking it’s appropriate to disrupt my whole class to tell me that and now any focus the class once had is gone, so thanks a lot for that. Come on, just don’t be annoying for like one hour then we can all go home.
Anyway, the point is, by the end of that lesson I felt drained. However after a lovely date night in Cambridge on Friday night, followed by a weekend spent catching up with family, I finally feel ready to write this blog.
Despite what you may think from my description of that one lesson, this year has actually been a huge improvement for me. I feel like I actually know what I’m doing now, or I at least know how to pretend like I know what I’m doing. One class who I am teaching again this year and who I had last year even said “What happened to you over the summer? You’re a much better teacher this year.”
The key focus for me this year has been behaviour management. This is something which I struggled with a lot last year, so I was keen to get right from the start this time around. It’s therefore been a big relief to have received positive comments in this area in both observations and from students at the parent’s evening, who commented that some (difficult) students in my class work more and have much better behaviour in my lessons than they do in any other lesson in school. Considering the biggest issue with my teaching last year was my inability to “control the class”, as both students and parents loved complaining to me about, this is great progress.
Outside the classroom, I am also trying hard to give myself more time off each week. Although I am still working until around 9pm most evenings during the week, I do now have Thursday evenings off as I have started volunteering with a local Brownie (Girlguiding) unit again, something which I used to help with during university. This age range (7-10 years) is a welcome change to work with compared to the teenagers at school.
Now, time to go and enjoy half term and the sun while it’s still here.