Post 35: 12 June – 13 July 2017
I have been doing reports and end of year assessments for a good few weeks now which is why I haven’t had time to write up this blog. I have pretty much finished – I do have a couple of transition reports to write but it looks like I am getting no work today (Friday 14 July) so I may as well update this whilst waiting for the phone to ring.
So I received very positive feedback from the Head Teacher about my reports which is always good to hear. I also had to read and check the reports from my TA’s for their key worker children. It was hard work but as always, very rewarding to do so. As a supply teacher it isn’t very often that I get a chance to be anywhere long enough to feel you make a big difference, but I have in this school. The teacher who is taking over from me has been coming in to liaise with me and I have been guiding her through things. She is a recently qualified teacher and I think she is a bit nervous but she will be grand. She has lovely support staff with a lot of experience.
For the last few weeks we have been doing the final assessments which will be passed up to the Reception teachers. The data analysis is the one bind which I detest. It is mind boggling, especially as I have to do 52 children, more than any other teacher in the school. I was up for hours many nights doing it (we use a program called ‘Target Tracker’ which has a couple of features I don’t like…)
We also went on a school trip. Trips are rare for me so I really enjoyed this one. It was to a story-making realm, so no farm for a change!
In between the Mondays and Wednesdays that I work in the nursery classes I have also been getting work on those other days. On Friday 16th June I received the latest ever call for a same-morning session: 8.50am!! It was for a Reception class in a school I have been to a couple of times before. I arrived whilst the whole school were in assembly and was shown round by going outside the building and around. Turns out the teacher came in but got very sick so was sent home, hence the late call. Like all late calls like this there just isn’t time to be debriefed so I just got stuck in and on with things. So as soon as the children came out of assembly they walked in to their room to see this stranger here! Anyway, we had a lovely day. It was a small village school so the children were no problem at all. I noticed that their writing ability far outstripped the reception class of my regular school (which is very inner-city and multicultural).
On Thursday 22 July I went to a school for a morning session only. This was an absolute breeze, starting with an extremely enjoyable music session led by a guy from the local music centre. He had the children in the palm of his hand playing his guitar and singing. He had me too! Morning sessions are obviously only half the pay but at least it’s a nice feeling going home for a free afternoon.
The following day was a new school for me, right on the other side of the city from where I live. I was teaching Reception all day and it was a 2 form entry. As I chatted to the other teacher it turns out she used to work in the school I work at on Mon-Wed. Small world! This was a lovely day, with a special assembly which parents could attend to start off the day, followed by a singing session with a very eccentric lady who played the piano! Their hall has the most stunning view of the surrounding countryside and hills. I really do see all different kinds of places in this job. I love it!
On 29 and 30 June I was asked back to a school where I worked for 4 weeks just before Easter (I will have written about it in previous blogs). Now that was a hard 4 weeks! This time I was to work in the other Year 2 class from last time. This class were much better though still needed a firm grip. They had a long term supply teacher who herself has now gone off. I think the HLTA is going to take them for the remaining 2 weeks or so, but couldn’t do these 2 days. I found them challenging but manageable. The rest of the school were as loopy as they were last time I was here. Even one of the regular staff came up to me at playtime and said, “What have you done wrong to deserve being back here?!” I also had to deal with 2 very aggressive parents on the 2nd day, so aggressive that the Head of School had to come and sort it. A mum and another dad demanded to know why certain incidents had happened yesterday (nothing I’d done) and I was taken out of class during register to do it. They were both so aggressive that it had to be recorded on CPOMs (child protection software). It didn’t really faze me, I felt that as I was a visiting teacher they were really taking their frustrations with the school out on me as I was the guy there and then.
On Friday 7 July I received a very late call at 8.25am to go to a school which was 5 minutes’ walk from my house! So I DID walk – the first time ever I have been able to walk to work in my career. I made it with 20 minutes to spare but still had to wait in the entrance as all the staff were in a meeting. Therefore when they all came out I was shown to the Reception class and the Foundation Leader said could I fly by the seat of my pants as we are opening in 2 minutes? Well, yes I could! This became an extremely enjoyable day, with a very well-behaved class. I did some end of year assessments which needed finishing off. Then at lunch time the whole school sat on the field for a picnic and parents were invited. I sat with 4 children whose parents did not come. I thought this was a lovely thing to take part in, though I did think there are a lot of people who don’t need to or can’t work to be here for this session! We did also have a few tears from the children when it was time to go back into class. At home time the FS leader said I’d done very well and that they would consider me as ‘first on the list for next time’. As she herself then said, “It’s always nice to get praise, so take it!”
So yesterday (Thursday 13 July) I went to a special school. But there was a twist. I was offered the job the night before but the woman from the supply agency said that they needed a teaching assistant, not a teacher. Would I be interested? It would be for greatly reduced pay obviously. But work has nearly come to an end for the year and she said the morning calls are now getting scarce. Some money is better than no money, especially with the summer break imminent. I also liked my time in the special school from last month. So I said yes. When I arrived I met the teacher. She told me the children were Key Stage 4 (16 year olds) but their complex needs meant they were working at Year 2 level (6-7 year olds, and lower). There were 9 in the class, mostly boys. We got stuck straight in with reading, exercise in the hall and maths (fractions of shapes – quarters and halves). It really was like working with younger children in the way they needed reassurance and the way we spoke to them. In the afternoon we did some food technology and they really enjoyed that – as did I! This was a really enjoyable day. The teacher obviously did all the leading and I supported with the work and the activities. I love watching other teachers and if they are good, like she was, it inspires me to try and improve myself too. I would never get this experience just in one permanent job. I feel that it is essential for me to work in a school like this if I can.
So I am now up to date. Next week is the final week of term and I do not expect to get any work next Thursday or Friday *******I have literally just answered the phone from my agency as I am typing this . I have been asked to work next Friday in the Reception class where they said I was ‘first on the list’! Totally unexpected but very welcome for what will be my final day of teaching! Looks like no work today though………….