Settling In.

Well, these first three weeks of term have zoomed by! I have to say – I love my job!!

So far…

  • I have taken two days of Paediatric First Aid training and am now a fully qualified First Aider.
  • Have set up my new classroom, build up new furniture and started observing how the children are using the space. I’m also planning out some new ideas for the Outdoor Area, after seeing how the children are using it.
  • We have welcomed 21 returning children into the nursery, all of whom have settled in well, and welcomed 9 new children into the setting.
  • Have been given the role of the Teacher Governor on the School Governing Body, and will be attending my first meeting this coming Wednesday evening.
  • Been booked on three courses so far, with the a-okay to look into and book more. Unfortunately, Forest School training is having to wait until the Spring Term, but I have been assured by the HT that she wants me to attend the training.

That’s a very brief summary of the last three weeks, but it’s mainly involved getting to know the staff better, settling into routines and getting the children settled. Lots of getting settled in for everyone!

We had 9 new starters who started last Monday; the majority of whom have settled in a treat. A couple, both of who are very young, are struggling to settle. One keeps crying for his father and comes into nursery crying, but as the week has gone on he has gradually got better and the crying is (slowly) decreasing. The other little boy has two elder Autistic siblings and his mother suspects that he also suffers from it and has asked us to keep an eye out for any symptoms. As it is still early days, I’m still observing his behaviour and mannerisms – but he is certainly having a huge impact upon the environment with his behaviour and loud wailing (quite often for no reason whatsoever!). I do wonder whether a lot of it may be him having to get used to having so much social interaction in comparison to his home life and that he is struggling to adjust. We’ll have to wait and see how they do this coming week.

For now, I’m going to go and spend some time writing up Learning Journeys and making up some bags for an activity for next week.

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The Fear

After a six long weeks of summer holidays, I start my job as Nursery Class Teacher tomorrow.

Needless to say The Fear has well and truly kicked in at this point in time. However, I do have four days of INSET to ease myself in gently, or as gently as you can be eased in to the teaching profession.

Don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to it immensely and I can’t wait to get stuck in and start applying some of the many ideas I’ve been dreaming of for months. But I am worried that I won’t live up to my own expectations of myself… I’m just going to go in and do my best.

For now? An early night is in order.

Getting to know you…

I officially start my post as Nursery Teacher on Tuesday 31st August. Initially it is only going to be a morning Nursery due to lack of numbers, so I’ll be teaching every morning with one afternoon a week dedicated to PPA/NQT time (making this a 0.6 post). The soon to be Acting HT has said that I may be able to work more hours after January after the new intake come in, but it is all dependent on numbers and is completely up in the air at the moment. But I figured out that even if I could work just two more afternoons for the Spring and Summer term, it would mean that my NQT Induction Year would be completed by the time my contract ends with this post, as I have already completed one term at 0.8… Potentially a huge weight lifted off the shoulders in terms of future employment!

We have four INSET days planned for the first week of term – the first two are dedicated to First Aid training, the latter we are having a outside speaker coming in to train us on dealing with behaviour management the ‘PPP way’. At some point in those four days I need to arrange my classroom as I can’t over the summer due to a) building work being done on site, b) the rooms being painted and c) the Under-3’s/Children’s Centre using our main Nursery room as their room over the summer break while their building work is being done. I’m actually thinking this may be a good thing, as I’ll be able to see how effective the room is being used by the children at the start and then change things around for a purpose, rather than what I think it should look like (and it not benefiting the children at all).

I was invited to attend the last staff meeting on term last week, so after a bizarre afternoon of supply (spending all afternoon ‘practising’ Sports Day) I toddled along to the Nursery. I really enjoyed it, I was immediately welcomed into the team and I can tell I’ll be happy there, they’re definitely my kind of people. I went into the Nursery again on Monday to have a look around while the children were there and to get to know some of the staff better and to start to understand where the current class teacher/soon to be Acting HT wants to take the Nursery. I’ve got a few little things to look into over the summer.

– I need to find some more exciting, more unusual items for the construction area as the current teacher is feeling it’s needing updating and isn’t used to it’s full potential. They have all the usual stuff; lego, duplo, train-tracks, bricks… She’s wanting something bigger and more exciting for the children to build with.

– Research some ideas on how to update the outdoor area, as the current teacher (soon to be Acting HT) expressed an interest in updating it (yay!). It’s going to be slightly tricky as it’s a fairly odd shape space and isn’t entirely flat. So there are a lot of paths to places, but there’s nothing much in terms of areas for children to explore once they get there.

– I need to dig out some of my old planning formats from university/previous posts, as well as look into finding some more up to date ones, as the soon to be Acting HT is wanting to update the planning they currently use as she doesn’t feel they’re detailed enough and isn’t happy with it as useful planning that people refer to regularly. By the sound of it it is done for the sake of being done, pinned on the wall and nobody refers to it afterwards.

For starters, I am trawling online for useful books for EYFS. Any and all recommendations of books you have found useful in your EYFS settings would be well received!

Finally, a job!

Preparation and persistence truly pays off – I GOT THE JOB!

After 11 job interviews since I qualified, I finally got the job. The Head Teacher said that nobody else came close and my vision for the EYFS was spot on. I’m so excited, I can’t wait to get stuck in and start teaching my own class. I have been asked if I’m available to come in before the Summer holidays to meet the staff and I presume to get involved on Home Visits and such.

However, I am now waiting for the confirmation letter to come through, then to arrange meeting with the Head Teacher to get the ball rolling. And what do you know, yet another CRB to be processed (number 12 and counting).

In the meantime however, I’m off to celebrate. FINALLY!

Too prepared?

So today is the day of the Nursery Teacher interview. I’m all prepared ready to go, but I don’t have to leave for another two hours.

So, I’ve been trying to get onto the TES forums to search for further interview questions so they’re fresh in my mind, but every time I do the internet crashes in a spectacular heap (yet for Gmail and Facebook it carries on fine…). Is it the universe’s way of telling me to relax and go with my own judgement and experiences? Is there such a thing as “too prepared”?

Who knows. I’m going to go and refresh EYFS and my presentation again. And pray my nerves don’t get the better of me yet again.

An up-hill struggle… That’s just trying to get a job!

I went to visit yet another school today. There were a couple of other potential applicants – one a Teaching Assistant who is being made redundant thanks to the school budget being cut and another an NQT who has been on supply for a year.

Whilst waiting for the Head Teacher to come and show us round, we were discussing how things will probably only get worse with the job-hunt for Teachers and Teaching Assistants in Cumbria. School rolls in Cumbria are falling rapidly, so I was flabberghasted when in a local paper it was mentioned that a new primary school may be opened in the re-development of the area in the coming years. As the TA pointed out, with so many schools potentially becoming academies and being outside of government control, who’s to say that a teacher has to cover PPA any more? Many more potential jobs of those who cover PPA and NQT time could just vanish. And with the emergency budget within the next few years and schools having to restrict their budgets even further, who knows how many more jobs will be for the chop?

As the NQT and I said, the teacher training colleges don’t tell you about the trials and tribulations of attempting to get a teaching job before you’ve forked out your current £3k a year in fees. The NQT summed it up so wonderfully in that saying it feels like you’ve won the lottery just to get an interview. Reading into that further makes me feel blooming lucky that as an outsider I’ve even had an interview at all, let alone 5 in the last six months.

I had my job interview I mentioned in my last post. I felt it was pretty horrendous. The resources I were promised for my lessons weren’t there, the interactive whiteboard didn’t work properly (surprise, surprise), but I ad-libbed and carried on regardless. I built a really good rapport with the children and they enjoyed my activities. The teacher who was observing me was sat at the back of the room and half-way through my teaching just walked out of the room! That threw me quite considerably and as I sat and waited for my interview, I truly thought my teaching had been dreadful. The interview… Well, the questions were aimed for someone who had had significant more experience than me, which again threw me for a loop and my nerves got the better of me. When the Head Teacher doesn’t ask you if you’re still a serious candidate for the job at the end of the interview, you know you’ve not got the job. About an hour later I had a phone-call confirming I’d not got the job, but gave me some wonderful feedback by saying my teaching was outstanding and providing I can not let my nerves get the better of me in future interviews I will walk straight into a job. I’m really pleased I had that good feedback, as I’d walked away from the school wondering what on earth I was doing in this profession.

However, I definitely must be doing something right. I have a job interview on Thursday for a Nursery Teacher for a year. I’m really excited about it actually. Better go and refresh my knowledge on everything EYFS!

Making the leap?

There are times where I really wonder whether I should just give up on teaching and go into something else. Admin for instance. I’d be good at that. I have considered it countless times in the last year or so, but every time I do suggest applying for something outside of the education sector my Other Half tells me not to, as he knows how much I love teaching and that if I do get a job outside of the education sector it will be nigh on impossible to get me back in.

I currently have one interview in the pipeline. I’m still yet to hear more details, but I’m hoping I will at least have an idea of the interview format or a date by the end of this coming week. It would be super if I got this job, but I’m still trying to keep a look out for other jobs to apply for.  The May 31st resignation deadline has been and gone, so the last few jobs in the sector will be advertised within the next week. There’s a few come up, so I’ll be spending today calling them up, arranging visits and getting those applications under way.

However, I am currently looking at an advertisement for Senior Teaching Assistant at a school about 12 miles away. I’m seriously considering going for it as I’m more than qualified. It would be a secure job within the education sector where I could continue building up my experience in EYFS. I could still do tutoring outside of school hours to earn extra money. There would be no where near the amount of stress levels as there is with teaching posts. Plus, it’s a foot in the door. Word may get around and I may be offered an interview elsewhere…

Oh, I don’t know. I’m just getting fed up of the constant up-hill battle in trying to get a teaching post in the North-West and just being knocked back down time and time again. I could at this point easily turn this into a huge rant about how the previous government encouraged thousands of people to go into teaching, claiming they’re short of teachers… Which is true, in the secondary sector. But now there’s more primary teachers than there are jobs.

But that rant has been done til the cows come home. So, I’m going to go and use my energy in ringing up schools and working on applications that will make them desperate to employ me. …We can all dream, can’t we?

Quote of the Day

From TeachersTV ‘Outdoor Learning’.

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”

Couldn’t agree more!

Interview!

I have an interview!

It’s for a 0.4 teaching post, PPA cover, for a year due to staff reorganisation. Either way, I’d be thrilled to get it as the school is barely a 10 minute drive away and I’d be able to continue with my NQT Induction year. I’ve already completed a term at 0.8 in my last long-term post, so if I got this job I would have completed two full terms, with a final term to finish. I don’t have a date for interview yet, they are yet to determine the format of interviews – which is to be discussed at the Governors Meeting after half term (next week).

However, I’m not one to put all my eggs in one basket… So I should get on applying for the other job that’s available in my area. Good plan.

Welcome!

So, I decided to jump on the blogging bandwagon to record my thoughts, ideas and happenings through-out my teaching career.

A bit about me… I’m a NQT, Foundation Stage/Key Stage 1 specialist, who qualified in December 2008. I recently relocated from the West Midlands up to the North-West of England with my OH. I am currently working as a day-to-day supply teacher whilst looking for a long-term teaching post, which is proving to be something of a challenge.

I’ll get there eventually, fingers crossed!