I didn’t get A’s on teaching practice and other confessions

I’ve received lots of messages from stressed out teachers who are struggling to keep up with the perceived idea of perfection that is often portrayed on social media and amazing lessons that are often expected on teaching practice. So I suppose this blogpost is something I’ve decided to write to share a little about me and my teaching career and experiences.

Teaching practice

To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember what grades I got on teaching practice but I know for certain it wasn’t all A’s. My first teaching practice didn’t go very well, things began to get better in 2nd year, in 3rd year I had a disastrous first inspection (long division) and the final teaching practice was non eventful. Teaching practice is literally just that – practice – a chance to give it a go and to learn from more experienced teachers – it is a time to make mistakes (obviously its important to be as prepared and organised as you can) but you can’t be perfect on the first go (otherwise there would be no need for college!) So go easy on yourself – do your best but don’t be too disheartened if you don’t get top grades – try to see it as a learning experience and a stepping stone.

Bad Days

Like everyone, I have bad days (sometimes weeks) where things don’t go well. I feel overwhelmed and can’t get my head around the mountain load of tasks that I have to do. Sometimes it’s down to things that are happening outside the classroom, sometimes it’s a difficultly I’m having with a child in the class or with a parent or other staff member. Sometimes I get fed up with the politics of teaching (I’m sure you know what I mean!) Sometimes I just get into a rut – where I wonder if teaching is really for me and thankfully it usually resolves after a few days!

Quitting

After a negative teaching practice inspection (I don’t think it was all negative but I think we all focus on the negatives rather than the positives when things don’t go exactly as we planned), after the first 100 rejections when I first qualified, after an awful teaching experience in the U.K. and many more times since I moved back to Ireland I’ve wondered whether teaching is really for me. I’ve thought about quitting more than once but again this feeling usually goes away once I’ve calmed down and put things into perspective.

Kids

I have had my fair share of children who for whatever reason I’ve found it difficult to teach them. There have been days where I lose my temper and get frustrated and react without thinking. I think its important to realise that we cannot get on with every child in our class all the time. Its important to treat them all with respect and be fair and kind but there will always be some children that we clash with or find more difficult to teach than others.

Difficult parents

I’ve had a number of difficult encounters with parents too who disagree with my ideas or question my methodologies or aren’t happy with my reaction to their child’s behaviour or work etc.

Overall I think the purpose of this blogpost is just to share some of the realities of teaching rather than constantly showing all the good things. Thankfully the majority of days things are good and going well but there are other days that are tough and feel like they will never end. But I also think its important to note that these days (or weeks) end and there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Niamh