6 weeks ago I returned to my main placement school and immediately took over (with the exception of one class and 3 lessons on my Wednesday training day) the entire timetable of a colleague due to go on maternity leave. This was a shock to the system to say the least, but the way my training is set up the school were acting within the guidelines and agreement of the training partnership to do it so I've got on with it. It's not been easy, that's for sure. I've had absolutely all of the support my mentor has time to give me, but when report data is due and parents evening rolls around there really is no replacement for having the class teacher there to advise you and back you up. I do feel as if I've been thrown in at the deep end, but I'm continuing to tread water and I can see the rescue boat that is Final Assessment coming in the distance (sorry, I couldn't resist that...). I'm choosing to see this past term and the one that is coming as a learning curve and something that will no doubt be preparing me for September in a way that many others won't be.
My final assessment is due any time after the May half term and I think it will be pretty early on. For me at this moment in time it's not a scary prospect but signals the end of my assignments and at least some of the endless reams of paperwork that this course entails. I'm sure that nearer the time it will be a lot scarier, but for now it is the light at the end of the tunnel! After the final assessment I think I'm due to stay at this school until the end of the year to cover the maternity leave but without the pressures of weekly learning journals to fill in and essays to write at least the pressure will ease off, even if only a little and only temporarily!
This Easter holiday is my 2 weeks of lie-ins and not working in the evenings but also my chance to really get everything on track. I have to compile a record of development with all sorts of things in it that someone can look though and some how make a judgement on my suitability to teach. It's another paperwork exercise but as I hoard things I don't think it should be too much hassle to put together in the end.
Being the end of term I couldn't turn down the opportunity last night to head to the pub after school and for once got the opportunity to talk to people that you usually only see in passing. One conversation with a teacher who has been at the school for more than 20 years was particularly interesting. We were talking about all the things that trainees and NQTs have to do these days to qualify and he basically said to us this: when he entered teaching it was all about fun, (if the students got exam results from it that was a bonus) but that he thinks that with everything we have to do now we're going to be the better teachers. I'm not going to discuss this now, I think that would be a whole new blog post for another day. But I can't help but think that with the amount of people leaving teaching so early on, that he can't be right?
Just one more quick note, and this was my Easter surprise.... I got a tweet last night telling me that this blog has been nominated for the UKedChat Top 100 education bloggers. I'm very surprised, and I'm sure the nomination has not come off of the back of posts like this one but thank you to whoever posted the nomination. I'm very pleased. If you want to have a look at the nominations and vote for your favourite (or me!) then just visit http://ukedchat.com/2014/04/02/vote-for-your-favourite-uk-educational-blog/ and all the details are there. You only have until the 9th of April.