After spending just one year at my training school I didn't anticipate finding the end of the year and the process of moving on to be too difficult. It's been a roller coaster of a year with more ups and downs than any other, some provoked by the training and some more specific to the school but ever since my interview I've been looking forward to moving onto pastures new in September and saw that as the real start for me. There are quite a few staff leaving the school this year and many of them have been at the school for a long time so I wasn't expecting much from the students by way of reaction, especially as I've only been teaching my current classes since February. I'd not considered the impact I might've had on the students I taught but bearing in mind the short amount of time I'd been there and the fact that I was a trainee I thought I'd slip away fairly unnoticed. So when a year 10 boy stayed behind at the end of the lesson on Monday to tell me that he felt he'd really improved whilst I'd been teaching him and that he wanted to wish me luck at my new school it came as a shock, especially when I opened what I thought was a card that turned out to be a little wishbone charm on a chain for good luck. Over the course of the week I was given a poem by a year 7, a cupcake from another and a card from brothers in year 7 and 9 one of whom is in my tutor group and the other I taught. What meant the most to me though was when another year 10 boy tracked me down to give me a card and told me that he didn't care that people were laughing at him for it because he really wanted to give it to me. In all this reflection we've been encouraged to do all year, even when we're told to think of the impact we're having on the students we teach this sort of impact was something I'd never really considered.
The process of leaving one school and starting at the next has overlapped in the last few weeks when I have had the chance to visit my new school, collect my timetable, see my classroom and meet all my new colleagues in my department, some of whom are new themselves, including my NQT mentor. I have been lucky enough to be taking over from the nicest, most organised lady in the world who has tidied the classroom, prepared everything for me for September in terms of classes and as she is retiring she is leaving me with a lot of her resources. I've got more resources now in terms of textbooks and teachers books than I have seen all year and feel like I'm ready to hit the ground running. The novelty of having my own classroom has spurred me into action when it comes to displays and resources. As much as the classroom is in a perfectly useable state I want to make my mark and the best way I can see of doing this is to take down all the current displays and replace them with my own, reorganise the tables and fill the shelves with the resources I have accumulated over the first year.
Moving into my NQT year I had intended to continue my studies by starting on a Masters course and using the 60 credits I have built up from my PGCE. I thought that after juggling School Direct with the PGCE essays this year I should continue with the momentum and get straight into it. Throughout the course I've been interested in the research side of things and have actually enjoyed some of the essays at times when my colleagues had been complaining about how pointless they were. I can see that it's certainly a side of the course that you either love or hate and how useful you find it depends on what you intend to do later on. Having studied a minor in Psychology in Education at university I was already interested in educational research so it suited me just fine. This early on in my career I obviously don't have a clear picture of what I want to do, but there is certainly an appeal in heading into research or training or back into higher education later on so the Masters will be something I do, I just need the breathing space this year to work out the best way of going about it. I'll be going to ResearchEd in September though to satisfy some of that need, I'm looking forward to it but just hoping I won't be out of my depth! I've started myself on a reading list already...
I started this particular blog a year ago, unsure of quite where I was going with it, who would read it and if I'd even keep it up. I was pretty sure that the only people that were going to read it were my parents and my grandparents and that it might not really be worth continuing. A year down the line I'm pleased I stuck it out. I've been really surprised with the sort of responses I've had and particularly happy with the messages I've had from other trainees and those going into their training this year that have been reading and contacted me to let me know that they've found it useful or enjoyable. I also think that writing the blog has helped me do something that was drilled into us throughout training - reflection. With this in mind, I'm hoping to continue the blog into my NQT year. Now that my training is over and I won't have essays etc to be reflecting on I guess the content of the blog will take a slightly different angle but I don't want to give it up just yet.