Placement Looms: Real pupils in real schools

The day after my very first post, an email arrived from the University’s School Experience Officer. The subject left no air of mystery whatsoever:

‘PROVISIONAL PLACEMENTS: BA PRIMARY YEAR 1’

It was an email I hadn’t expected, but had been eagerly (and anxiously) awaiting for some time. What school would I be going to? Would it be a good school? How far will I have to travel?

Each student on the BA Primary course has to undertake a placement in a learning environment in each of the three years. My placement this year is scheduled between March and May. With it being the very first one, I don’t think anyone truly knows what to expect. Until now I’ve been able to put the idea of actually teaching children – REAL children – into a part of my mind where I can acknowledge it’s going to happen eventually, but satisfy myself with the thought that it’s still some way off.

Until now.

Now it’s very real. Now I have a school. Now I have something I can’t file away. I have something to put in my diary, a website I can look up, an ESTYN inspection report to read, and a Twitter profile to start following.

It doesn’t matter how relaxed you are about the idea of teaching (I’m genuinely really looking forward to qualifying) because when you’re faced with the thought of going into a school and teaching your very first lessons, I would challenge anybody who says they’re not a bit nervous.

But is nervousness a bad thing?

Sure, it might shave some hours off your average sleeping time. But doesn’t nervousness keep you sharp, focused and ‘on-task’? Doesn’t it make sure you don’t rest on your laurels? We’re nervous, apprehensive and maybe a little worried for one simple reason:

We care.

We care about doing it right. We care about doing a great job, and showing how good we can be.

Whilst the email from the School Experience Officer left no air of mystery, my first teaching experience is a huge step into the unknown.

Right, pencils down. That’s the end of our time. Until next time – hwyl fawr!

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