Into the Unknown

Navigating the Eastward Passage

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The More Things Change...

Yesterday the BBC reported that only 19% of teachers currently in their probationary year have secured a permanent position for next year. This is a shocking inditement of the state of national and local policy and financial management. I appreciate that local authorities could not have seen the current recession coming but I feel that the national policy of training ever increasing numbers of teachers for a future drop in numbers is coming home to roost. I owe my career to this recruitment drive but it was hard enough for me to get a job, even though it originally wasn't in my main subject. I fear for my younger sister who will be graduating next year - what are her prospects going to be? Combined with the efficiency drive of local authorities following on from the general elcetion and the increasing pressure to cut school budgets, release staff and increase class sizes (despite propaganda to the contrary) what is the near future for Scottish education?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Back to the Front

Hi, I've been very lax lately. Very sorry for the shocking gap between posts. I am now established in my new (ish) school. Suppose I should round up the last year.....When I started I had taken up a post in a new faculty from my main subject. Initially things did not work out very well. The main role I was given was one of support and I felt as if my years training had been wasted in some way. I felt marginalised in the school and was unsure if I had made the right decision.

My main subject was a dying department in the school with no certificate classes and little support from the SMT. It had even been removed from the course choice booklets and appeared to be set for phasing out. I had been given one S2 block in my first term at the school. From the three classes in the block a number of pupils had intimated they wanted to take my subkect in S3 so after a productive parent's evening and pressure on the SMT the subject was allowed to run and I now have a (small) Intermediate class.This helped me immensely as I felt that I now had a more recognised role in the school.

This year I have 1st, 2nd and 3rd year classes in my main subject as well as input in my newer area, although I aim to return fully to my main subject. I have also been teaching a related subject to 1st and 2nd year although this has since been passed back to a returning colleague. It seems from recent feedback that we are going to have an increased uptake next year and the future is looking rosier for the department. The current 1st year are having, I feel, a much more positive experience in the subject as both myself and my colleague are very enthusiastic about the courses on offer and we have been working closely to raise the profile of the subject. It's early days but hopefully we can continue to press forward.

I now feel much happier in this school. At first, with the new job and new environment I felt very much out of my depth but as time has gone on I have become more at ease. I really feel that I have progressed my skills and capabilities and that it has perhaps been the makings of me as a teacher. I know that at some point I will move on from this point but am grateful for the support and belief of my colleagues.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year, New Job

Welcome to 2008 to anyone out there. Sorry again for the lack of posts, I started my new job in October and have been trying to establish myself at work. This has been made harder by a switch in my career (still teaching, just teaching different things) as well as school. I'm still in the East, but my new school is much different from my last - it actually reminds me of a school I was put on placement in back in the days when I was a wet behind the ears student teacher. It's a challenging place but so far I'm enjoying it more than it's getting me down and I hope the good days will become more frequent as the kids get to know me a bit more.

I've definitely met some characters so far in my time here - some in a pleasant "dimples and cheeky chappy" way, others in am "ohmigod you are possibly insane" way. It's become very clear, more so than in previous schools, the impact an unstable background can affect how children react to the rest of the world throughout their life. There are certinly problems in the community which my new school serves, now all I've got to do is to find a way to ensure that these problems outside create as little stress as possible inside the school (which is supposed to be a safe environment). Ho-hum.

Well, all the best for the year ahead (I'm going to need it).

Friday, August 24, 2007

Supply - Oh My!

Well, school started back for me today - a good week after everyone else. I haven't managed to secure a permanent position over the summer so I've been staring down the barrel of a smoking gun known as supply teaching for a few weeks now. I naively assumed that the local authority to which I assigned myself would help in sorting out temporary placements. As I said, I was naive. Still, my old work phoned me yesterday to ask if I was willing to come in for a couple of days so I accepted gratefully.......

......and I actually loved it. I was a modern studies teacher today which was good fun. Not sure I could deal with quite so much contention and debate all the time but for a couple of periods I can deal with the opinionated. On Monday I get to be an English teacher which I'm looking forward to. It was really good to be back in my NQT placement school, even just for a couple of days. I think it's done my nerves about supply a little easing.

Recently, the Scottish Executive has come out saying that there is a huge surplus of teachers (I've read that as few as 1/3 of NQTs from last year have secured a job) but that they expect most of us to get at least 'casual employment' by October. I can't help but feel that they're playing a little fast and loose with people's livelihoods here. I grant you that the new Government have only been in power for a little over 100 days and have inherited this from Labour, but it is an issue that really must be addressed. Anyway, I'll stand down from my political soapbox now....

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

This is the end....

Well, the end of my NQT year at least. I've had a great experience this year at my placement school and feel ready to take on the world of education (well the East of Scotland anyway). Unfortunately I haven't been able to secure a position for next year yet but I'm hanging in there, filling out the forms for supply teaching (which should be an entirely different challenge to this last year) in a couple of local authorities. I think that this is the really stressful time for those NQTs who have not been fortunate enough to be offered a position - the rest of the year was only a mild diversion!

The main question which I have been trying to answer to myself over the last year has been 'Is this the profession for me?' and I feel that over the NQT year it has shown itself to be a vocation which is indeed for me. I have a deep love for my subject but, more than that, I have learned that I have an equally deep enjoyment of seeing people relate to my subject and realise how it is relevant to their everyday life. I can see myself doing this for a long time and hope to continue to reap pleasure from my interactions with todays teenagers (well, somebody has to!!).

I'll try and update more regularly from now on, I guess that I had underestimated the time constraints of a 1st year teacher. I'm on holiday just now so there may not be much to report for the foreseeable future but comr September, I hope to be right back on that horse.

Until next time....

Sunday, January 21, 2007

New Term

Ahh, the new term is upon us and has been for 2 weeks now - so how does it feel? After the hell of the first week where everyone (including the pupils) is still finding their rhythm again (despite in my case a pile of personal baggage - in every sense of the word - pummeling me) it almost feels good to be back. This teaching lark seems easier with a term under my belt, the confidence is oozing out and I feel so much more assured. Then it hits you - 2 parents evenings to prepare for and attend, a pile of reports waiting, a new profile for entry to complete, a prelim exam to create, the starting of revision classes for 4th and 5th year, the resumption of the CPD course for NQTs, folio tasks, the build up of fixtures for the sports team as a result of the weather, a plethora of meetings ranging from DMs to Working Groups, staff in-services to attend and the old constant of actually teaching through all this. This all being in the first 2 weeks by the way. Good to be back?

Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the obligatory bugs and ailments going around any educational establishment at this time of year, not a place for the infirm, that's all I can say.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Well, the holidays are but a distance dream and a vague memory at once. Two weeks into the new term and it's time to knuckle down, discipline yourself and get working. That's the teachers accounted for but what of the pupils - the first week back was almost bliss, last week getting tougher and by the end of today I was ready for internal combustion. There really is nothing like a group of 20 something 3rd years refusing to settle to get the adrenaline going and make you call into the question your feeling of content with your career choice. I remain convinced that a schoolchild of any age, perhaps with the exception of the less able 1st years, can smell the blood of an NQT from 20 paces down a packed corrider and can then home in on any insecurities and make the kill, its uncanny. How many times can you say SHUT UP in a lesson (without actually muttering those particluar words lest we scar or upset the little darlings) before it takes effect? To compound my misery today (last period of all times) all of the usual suspects were either off or had appointments and had to leave after 15mins (why bother turning up?) so it was a smaller and generally more reserved bunch I had in front of me - I thought. The most infuriating part is that despite the battle for supremacy in leading the discussion the class actually got through a fair chunk of work - so was the lesson a success or failure? I never really felt totally in control of the room but there was learning occurring. Ah the paradox of teaching/performing crowd control last thing in the day - the graveyard shift indeed.