I’m currently covering a maternity leave until the summer holidays. Taking over from someone else can be particularly tricky – especially at this time of the year. The other teacher has already taught in his/her way, has routines set up, and has certain ways of doing things which the class are used to.
When I first started two weeks ago I decided to keep everything exactly as it was. I soon realised that this was not a good idea. I am not Mrs. X and I never will be. The children need to know that you are their teacher, and you cannot just step into someone else’s shoes. Of course I have kept many of the things that Mrs. X set up but I have also made a few changes.
The first thing I changed was the classroom layout. It had been arranged nicely into groups so instead I changed it into a U shape. This was discussed and agreed with the children so they took ownership of it and even helped to do it.
Secondly we sat down and had a discussion about what makes a great teacher and what makes a great student. The children worked in groups of 4 to brainstorm these two ideas and then we agreed which were the most important. These are now on display as our class rules so we have very clearly expectations of how to behave both inside and outside the classroom and very clear rewards and consequences.
The classroom is now beginning to feel like my own – even if it is just for a short time.