Concerns vs Reality:
Prior to starting this course, I had several worries; how am I going to lesson plan? What if the students don’t like me? What if I don’t fit in with the department? I soon learnt these are all normal questions. For me, I had three major concerns regarding my confidence, organisation and time management. Throughout my training year I was taught how to overcome these fears, and it turns out my concerns were nothing like the reality of it.
Prior to starting this course, I had a number of worries. I was fresh out of university and starting my career as a secondary school teacher at the age of 21. This affected my confidence enormously. The thought of standing in front of a class knowing that I’m only a few years older than them felt terrifying. I believed the students would think I was a fraud. I constantly thought why would they listen to me? I’m a very young teacher, what authority do I have?
A Great Mentor
My brilliant phase A mentor taught me the classroom is your stage and the students are your audience. The students I teach are here to learn and be guided by me, they don’t care about my age or my lack of experience. The students want a teacher that cares about them, that will support them and create a safe learning environment. So, for those hour lessons I wasn’t Sammie the 21 year old who was completely lacking in confidence; I was Miss Hurst their super caring and supportive teacher. I will never forget my mentor’s words, ‘you fake it until you make it’. This is completely true, you create a different persona in the classroom, a better version of yourself that those students can trust. From here, my confidence grew and now I don’t feel as worried about this anymore. The reality is, if you’re resilient and don’t let your lack of confidence get the better of you, the challenges you face in the classroom will be that tiny bit easier.
Organisation and Time Management
Self-organisation is extremely important in the classroom. But you also need to be able to organise your students and your classroom. This allows the lesson to run in a smoother and calmer fashion. If you’re fully prepared then the students are engaged quicker and there should hopefully be fewer behavioural issues.
Although, when I first thought about organisation, I thought it meant I had to be perfect and everything I was going to do had to be planned meticulously. But I’m forgetful, I have never been good with organisation and organisation is extremely time consuming, so I thought this was going to be impossible. How was I supposed to organise so many different deadlines, lesson plans and marking? This had a negative impact on my first few weeks of teaching. My lessons didn’t have a swift start, so my students were disruptive as they had lost focus; activities lacked fluidity and not all of the students could access the learning.
However, this soon got easier, as time went on I found strategies that benefitted me and helped my self-organisation. For example:
- I carried a memory stick on my lanyard that contained all my lessons for that day. This was useful if I had lessons in different rooms.
- I had a daily to do list, that had achievable goals on that needed to be completed.
- I had a timetable and a diary to hand at all times, this allowed me to plan my time effectively. I had allocated slots for when I was to plan lessons, build evidence and complete deadlines. This was really helpful.
The reality is, with time and more practice you become better at organisation. Don’t expect for it to come naturally. It’s something we learn. Nobody’s perfect and were not always going to get it right. But having strategies that will help you will be a huge asset.
Your fears are completely normal
All your worries about becoming a teacher are understandable, everyone has the same feeling. But with the help of SCITT, your mentors and colleagues, you are soon able to tackle these concerns you once had, and grow to become the best teacher you can be.
Sammie, Trainee English Teacher
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