Well I made it through my first full week (including a class trip) alive, I call that a success! I have had my first massive mystery bruise though, about 3 inches across and absolutely no recollection of doing anything to cause it. Probably walked into the annoying knee height tables that you get in KS1, seem to do that constantly! I've had enough time to settle into the school and class now and form opinions about it all, so here's the verdict.
My class are, on the whole, a really lovely class. They're a chatty bunch but other than that, they're actually really well behaved. Though I did have a mystery person put hand soap in two water bottles this week, the whole class had to have a bit of a telling off for that. The one thing that absolutely drives me mad about them is their lack of ability to be quiet. I'll do my clapping, they'll stop, repeat and be quiet for a few seconds but then they'll start to do things and talk before I'm finished talking. I'm having to come down quiet hard on them, I've been clapping again and telling them that it's disrespectful (one of the rules they wanted is to respect everyone) to talk over me and not listen (another one of their rules!) and just refusing to talk over them. If there have been any particularly bad offenders then they've had to miss some of their play time. I'm also making them redo things if they don't do them right the first time, like moving to line up, sit on the carpet/at tables etc. I think they're starting to get a bit better, we'll get there!
What have I learnt this past week and a bit?
* Whilst a zone board might be a great idea, it just doesn't work in practice. It's too much faffing and hassle so I've not been using it, just my sticker chart. I may take it down and put up a traffic light instead as I think it's still a good thing for my warning system - one warning before the school policy of time out. No names this time, just laminate it and use a board pen to write the name on.
* I've also learnt that it's bloody hard work! Especially at the start of the year but that if you keep on, it does get better.
* Another thing that I've learnt is that although I totally dismissed the idea of carpet or seating charts, I think they might well be needed!
* Always have a back up plan in case something can't happen for one reason or another
* Make sure you know when assemblies are so that the head doesn't have to come and get you!
* Don't let one child use an electric pencil sharpener, suddenly they all want a go!
* Stop stressing so much, in wise words of Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - Everything will be alright in the end, if it is not alright it is not the end.
The staff at the school are genuinely probably the nicest lot I've ever worked with. Everyone is so helpful, they constantly tell me that if I need help with anything just to ask, they ask how I am, how I'm getting on etc. The head teacher is great, there are times when I'll ask a question and she'll send me to my induction mentor as it's up to her to deal with those things, which is completely understandable and I'd expect it really (still getting used to who I go to for what!) but she always shows an interest in me and how I'm getting on. My induction mentor is well, amazing really. I've had so many questions this past week I'm amazed that she's not got sick of me! Yet she always finds the time to help and answer questions and always tells me to come and ask if ever I need anything. They've also booked me onto a number of training courses which is great. It all makes me really not want to leave at Christmas, let's hope they don't manage to recruit someone to be the KS1 leader!
I'm starting to get used to the school and the way things work now. Guided Reading still is a bit of a hazy area for me though, first session next week so hopefully it'll just take a few goes to get into it all. My mind is still bordering on that fence about whether I think I can do this or not. There's been so many times this week where I know I haven't been great, where the children haven't learned what I wanted, where I've pitched too high or too low. Though there's been other times when things have gone really well, it's certainly not all bad. Maybe I'm being too hard on myself, maybe that's all part of settling in and getting used to the children and that things will soon get better with those things. I'm hoping so anyway!