Confessions of a TP Student; Part 3

The One Where the Inspector is Missing

Inspections. The cross we student teachers must bear. The hour or so of your life that will define you as a number or grade on your CV forever more. The time when you hope to put in an Oscar worthy performance with the best students in a well-resourced school. Your “visitor” will love you and your lesson, and your folder that somehow managed to take all week to get properly in order and up to date. No matter what name they give to that visitor – supervisor, tutor, critical friend- it will always be the inspector. An Cigire. The mention of the word fills so many with dread. You spend your days glancing at the window when you can, panicking every time the door knocks or a shadow walks past. You sit up late into the night writing plans for active lessons full of group work in order to impress. You feed the laminator huge amounts of paper for resources that might never be used again but will look good if someone arrived for that lesson. Judging by your class group chat the inspector should be with you any day now. But what happens when they don’t arrive? The lovely people in the staff room are getting a bit fed up of asking if you are expecting anyone and checking out their window for strangers arriving for you too. The school holds it’s breath.

So, it’s coming to the end of the week and you’ve been expecting their presence since Monday. You have had wonderfully exciting lessons everyday thinking you’d do well with that lesson if inspected. It can be hard not to think of these as a wasted opportunity to do well. After a successful lesson it is easy to wish an inspector had witnessed the fun. You wonder has your inspector gone missing? It’s the end of the week and not only have you used all your best lessons, but tiredness is starting to creep in too. Yes, the children in your class deserve you at your best every day, and we all want to be the most amazing teachers we can be, but we are human and human’s need sleep. Not only have we been teaching this theme for a week or two, but spent a few weeks thinking about it, looking for resources, and planning too. It can be hard to be as overly enthusiastic about a topic as you were at the start. Let’s be honest, you’ve probably also worn all your best ‘teacher’ clothes for the last four days hoping if you look like you know what you are doing you’ll get an extra mark or two. I’m sure the inspector will be raging that he/she missed that new top you purchased especially for the occasion. You look at your timetable and wonder what might be a decent lesson that they could come for tomorrow? Maybe it will snow and the school will be closed. I don’t think I’m alone in saying I find it a struggle to make the weekly spelling test exciting. Standard test, no group work, no active learning, no fun. A part of you wants the inspector to arrive so you will have one inspection out of the way, a step closer, a box ticked. Another thinks that if they arrive for a PE lesson on a Friday afternoon that you’ll just give up and join a circus. The struggle continues, but the weekend is in sight.

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