The One Where You Try to Fit In
The beginning of every placement block comes with a period of observation. In this case, students were given one week to observe, complete a report to show they can link all the theory picked up from the webinars that provided background entertainment while having dinner, and the Saturdays that you sadly had to leave early due to ‘family commitments’, to practice. But that’s not the only task at hand. The observation week allows you to settle into the school, get to know your students, and harass the class teacher with hundreds of questions while you overthink the themes you might use and the potential lessons you may attempt to execute. It also gives you time to act cool, fit in, be normal before the frenzy of inspectors coming begins, establish your seat in the staff room, and learn to use the photocopier. It is always advised to make friends with the secretary.
I am happy to report that all my first day fears were quickly quashed by extremely welcoming staff. After the grand tour of the building I settled into the staffroom, delight to discover this was not ‘cup war’ territory. My observations in the classroom left me feeling enthusiastic and confident that I will get through this placement in one piece. As the week progressed I chatted to the children, jotted down the tricks the teacher used to get the children to behave that I will definitely be stealing, and had a good hunt for useful resources that I can borrow in the coming weeks.
This week also featured the allocation of supervisors. This resurrected the inspector fear that sends the group chats into overdrive with people hoping to gain an insight into what their supervisor may be like. You ask about your supervisor, light a candle, and pray that you get a good response. Someone posts the name of the inspector that you may have had past grievances with and you chose to ignore it, pitying them and not wanting to fill them with dread. The week is over and you still have the lengthy to-do list to get through, loads of doubts about your scéim (or what will be in the scéim when you actually get it done), and mountains of cutting and laminating to be done while you watch The Late Late Show in your pyjamas. Friday nights are so exciting when you are a student teacher.