On to pastures new…

For a variety of reasons I have decided to have a spring clean and re-locate my little blog to a new address –

https://lozslife.wordpress.com/

I will continue to blog about teaching, but also post the occasional musing about life in general, hope to see you there ūüôā

xx

Goodbye NQT, hello NQT+1!

Was my last post really in February? Wow! So much has happened and so much has changed! The most exciting one being…

I PASSED MY NQT YEAR!

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Hurrah! after a year of early mornings, late starts, a horrendous amount of observations I have survived and come out the other side! I’m not going to try and make the NQT year sound like some lovely, picturesque picnic, it was tough. Really tough. There were times when I wanted to just cry, give it all up and go back to my Sainsbury’s weekend job. However I am so glad that I didn’t. Everyone has low moments, it all comes down to how you deal with them. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by enough lovely friends and family that I could come home and have a good old moan at the end of particularly cruddy days, which really helps – believe me!

This year seems oddly different to last year, even though i’m in the same year group. I don’t think I let the little things stress/bug me quite as much at school. I’m learning to manage my time and prioritise more too, which is aiding my aim of leaving school at a reasonable time rather than 6:30 finishes every day!

L x

 

The halfway point

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How the heck am I halfway through my NQT year??

It’s had its ups and downs so far I must admit. Shall we get the downs out of the way first? It appears that I struggled through the tail-end of the autumn term with a pretty hideous chest infection. I finally gave in and went to the doctor and was put on antibiotics. They helped a lot but I still get the odd dull,achey feeling in my chest…my own fault for letting the infection lie without treating it for as long as I did I suppose! I can’t wait until t eh summer term is here and all these horrible coldy fluey things are gone! I suppose the fact that I’m always so tired doesn’t help the whole immunity to bugs thing, people said that you’re tired for your whole NQT year and God they were right! I didn’t actually realise how tired I was until I got in on Friday night. I managed to sleep all Friday night, then have a 2hr nap Saturday afternoon, then sleep all night in Saturday! Most days I’m in school 7:30-6:00, so when you think about it it’s no surprise I’m a bit sleepy! I plan on cramming as many afternoon siestas into my half term as possible! In other news I am hoarding all the rescources I’ve made over the term in the hope that it will save me time next year…there just always seems to be something to do/make/file/write/organise/print! (Although I’ve told myself that I’m going to do nothing to do with school today…I’m going to try and remember what it means to relax!)

Okay enough of the down sides, because there are pleanty more ‘ups’. I am so lucky to be at the school I am in. The head is supportive of the staff, the staff are lovely, my mentor is amazing and the other reception teacher is very supportive. The kids are also bloody amazing (and hilarious). They are such a lovely bunch, and even though I do have a few pickles, I wouldn’t change them for anything. One little girl proposed to me the other day, how flattering! My observations have all come back as ‘good’ which is very good news – although the head wants to come and do a joint one with my mentor sometime before the end of the year, so I’ll start stressing about that soon!! Another surprise plus side is that now I’m working full time, and don’t have chance to keep diving into the biscuit barrel every five minutes, I’m loosing weight! Hurrah!

So yeah, overall it’s been a bumpy ride at times so far, but I wouldn’t change any of it! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go for a shower, watch some mindless daytime TV and then have another mid-afternoon siesta!

L xx

An Apology…

tired teacher

My lovely blog, I feel the need to apologise to you. I have ignored you for roughly three months and I am very sorry. The cause of this neglect is, however, pretty easy to decipher – that teaching is frickin’ hard work!

It just doesn’t stop, does it? From 7:30 in the morning when I arrive and make my morning cuppa until 5:30 when I drag my body back to my car I’m always on the go. There’s always something that needs to be done –¬†this needs sorting, that needs laminating, these need organising, these resources need arranging, these resources need putting back, this display needs changing, these need sticking in, these assessments need objectives attached to them, these targets need updating..etc. etc! IT. JUST. DOESN’T. STOP. I mean don’t get me wrong I knew it was going to be a tough year, but I keep finding myself sitting on the sofa at 7pm feeling utterly exhausted. I’m in bed at nine pm most nights!

And another delight that I underestimated was NQT-itus. I knew I would maybe feel a bit sniffly and cold-y this term as the children with their snotty noses and germy hands would be surrounding me all day, but I wasn’t expecting the equivalent of the plague to break out in my school! I don’t think I’ve actually felt 100% since September 1st, which is horrible for me because i’m one of those people who NEVER get sick. I’ve had THREE DAYS OFF since the start of term – that’s the first¬†days off I’ve had in about 4 years! The first day I had off I had the most horrific head cold and generally felt like death, then the other two days I had off was for sickness I also managed to pick up from some delightful child. Sitting here now I think I’ve got a mild chest infection, which is going to be REALLY FUN to live with until it goes, but the problem is that the doctors won’t do anything for a chest infection, will they? So even if I could get an appointment for tomorrow (which, of course, is impossible seeing as the waiting list at my doctors is something like three weeks!) they’d simply tell me to drink lots of water and sleep it off. I’m also fairly annoyed that I managed to get ill in half term…just my luck eh? I try to do everything right with regards to keeping germ-free at school. I always wash my hands and my antibac hand sanitizer works overtime when i’m not near a tap, but it just doesn’t seem to be enough! If anyone has some illness-fighting tips for a fed-up NQT please feel free to send them my way!!

However, despite the fact that the hours are long, I’m picking up every germy cold/virus/flu/plague under the sun and the fact that it seems that¬† no amount of hours of sleep are EVER enough, I am 100%, totally, completely, utterly in love with my job. I Iove the fact that no¬†two days are the same, I love the fact that the children are so enthusiastic and eager to learn, I love the child-initiated way in which our EYFS unit works, I love the team i’m surrounded by and the teacher working opposite me is the most helpful person I’ve ever met. I also seem to have really landed on my feet with my mentor. She’s lovely – worlds away from the horrible woman I had the misfortune of spending my final placement with and she seems to actually give a damn about me passing my NQT year!

So yeah, that’s my life at the moment! I’m going to go and make another cup of hot water to see if I can shift the worst of this chest infection before tomorrow! I hope all you NQT’s out there are enjoying your schools!

Miss L x

Oh, hi September…where did you suddenly appear from?

hello september

First things first, it seems that getting my classroom ready and going away at the end of August took over my life slightly, so I apologise for neglecting my little blog for the past month or so!

So it seems that the month has finally arrived, I’m officially Miss L! Well, i’m officially Miss L…but I haven’t actually got any children yet as they don’t start until next week. I’ve been doing home visits this week which have been lovely, I seem to have a really sweet bunch of kids and the majority of them are really excited about school. I also seem to have some really lovely parents too which I think is really important – especially in reception! Truth be told I’m horrendously nervous…I feel like I’ve forgotten everything I’ve been taught over the last three years and that I have no idea whatsoever what i’m doing…I guess that’s just an NQT thing, right? I’m sure it will all be fine, but I can’t wait to get the first few days over and done with so I can find my feet a bit.

¬†My classroom is so nearly ready, I keep thinking I’m there and then I think of five more things that need doing! I’m sure i’ll get there In the end, but it doesn’t feel like it’ll be ready by the time the children get in at the moment! I’m also in the process of moving everything I want to take into my classroom from my house – it’s lovely to get some space back after¬†a summer of living in the clutter of various boxes of books etc!

Anyway, i’d better keep this post short and sweet – there’s plenty of printing/laminating/sorting to be done before the children come in. My¬†first full week as a proper teacher with actual little human children…wish me luck!

Miss L x

Mentor Musings…

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What qualities should a mentor possess?¬† I was lucky enough to encounter a variety of mentors throughout my teacher training. Some were male, some female, some SLT, some class teachers, some my own class teacher and others teachers from other classes.¬†Honestly I think¬†I preferred having a mentor that wasn’t my class teacher. It was lovely to have another perspective on your teaching other than the person who saw you every day in the classroom, as well as also having contact with another member of staff in the school. On the whole, I was very lucky with my mentors for the first two years. They would help and support me when needed, would encourage me to take risks and share with me their experiences and advice in order to help me grow as a teacher.

However, my luck with mentors¬†didn’t, unfortunately,¬†last the entirety of my course. My mentor on my final placement possessed none of the qualities I imagined a mentor should have. She¬†was my class teacher,¬†would turn up after me in the morning and leave earlier than me in the evening. She would offer no support. She would allow the head of year to¬†drop into a lesson I’d been told to teach¬†five minutes before it was due to start and rip me to pieces after observing it.¬† She would deem me as a ‘requires improvement’ teacher in her official observations (I’d never been ‘requires improvement’ in my entire training)¬†but then be perfectly happy to allow me to take the class when she’s called in sick (that happened more than once). She, in essence, made my final placement miserable.¬†From about week¬†three of my placement I would¬†be staying at school until about 6, get home about 6:45, work some more, then cry. This went on for a while until, in about week 5,¬†I found myself crying hysterically at my dining room table, sobbing to my mum that I’d made a mistake and that I wanted to quit placement. I knew that quitting would be such a waste of the last three years, so I assessed the other options.¬†I emailed my link tutor from university telling her that I wanted a meeting with her, hoping that we could possibly discuss moving me to a different class or assigning a different mentor for the final few weeks.

Then the most miraculous thing happened.

My mentor appeared to have undertaken a severe personality transformation overnight. I don’t know if she was spoken to by someone from university, if my mentor contacted her, if the head had had a word or whatever. But she, from that day, tried to be the most helpful, kind mentor in the planet and I was completely and utterly flabbergasted as to why. I know I’ll never know what happened for her to realise that she was being a bitch, but I would love to know as it came completely out of the blue. We had a meeting with my link tutor and the placement continued as normal – apart from the fact that I apparently had some kind of¬†Glinda the Good as my mentor now. I’m not the most trusting or forgiving person, so for the remainder of the placement I didn’t trust Glinda further than I could throw her, and I was so glad when my placement ended.

I guess the point of this post is a message to all those in any positions of leadership/mentoring in school. YOU were a student/NQT/new¬†to leadership/responsibilities¬†once. You may not realise it, but sometimes having someone who you feel you can go and talk to, and that will take the time to support you, can make the difference between sticking at something and throwing in the towel. After my experience this year with that mentor, I can understand why a few people on my course dropped QTS after being given a horrible mentor. I’d like to think that I’ll remember how that mentor made me feel on final placement when I have students in my class or am a¬†mentor myself. You have the power to make someone’s teaching experience something miserable or something enjoyable…just a thought.

Miss L x

Wardrobe Woes

know-your-wardrobe

So, what does a young NQT wear? You want to look professional so that you’re taken seriously by your colleagues and parents, but at the same time you don’t want to come in wearing the same outfit as the 60-year-old supply teacher. I’ve seen people get placement outfits very right and, in my humble opinion, very wrong over the last three years. I’d like to think that I’ve found my own little style for when I’m in the classroom, which I feel comfortable in and am happy to wear…I will now, therefore, share some of the kind of outfits that I normally wear on a day-to-day basis…as well as also mentioning some of the big ‘no-no’s’ I’ve encountered throughout my training!

1)

I love wearing chino-type trousers. They can be made to look smart, but at the same time you still look fairly fashionable and young. I know that school isn’t a fashion show, but I still like to look nice when I’m there! I personally think that if you have something fairly tight on your bottom half, you should have something floaty/loose-fitting on your top half that also (if possible) is a little bit longer so it covers most of your bum too. I have navy and burgundy chino trousers, as I feel they’re the most versatile colours for me personally, and would normally wear them with something like this…

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2)

I love wearing leggings to school, but I team them with lovely floaty skater dresses rather than wearing them as trousers in their own right. Some people, I know, like wearing them as trousers out of school. However, I am of the opinion that anyone who wears¬†leggings as trousers¬†with a short top (in any setting) should be shot. Anyway, I digress. Leggings and floaty dresses are my go-to outfit in school – especially going into EYFS where I’ll be spending my life getting up and down off the carpet!

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3)

I love a good chunky cardigan in the winter. They are so versatile and go with absolutely anything! I tend to wear them with my skater dresses, tights and boots.

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4)

Colourful cardi’s are your friend! They can jazz up and dreary outfit by giving it a pop of colour!

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Now, on to the no-no’s…

1)

Now as you’ve probably gathered I love a good knitted item, however anyone under the age of 25 who wears a floor-length cardigan should be given a personal shopper and taken for a lie-down to think about their outfit choices. Ban them. BAN THE SALE OF FLOOR-LENGTH CARDIGANS¬†TO ANYONE UNDER THE AGE OF 25.

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2)

I adore heels. I can’t walk in them, but I adore them. However they are extremely impractical for school. Now, I know that this severely depends on where/what age group you’re teaching, if you have a meeting after school, etc. However teachers spend their lives rushing round school, and the last thing you want to do is go head over heels in front of¬†a group of Year 6’s¬†whilst rushing to the toilet before break time finishes!

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3)

Beware the low-cut top. I happen to be fairly blessed in the chest department, which is both a blessing and a curse. Before buying a top of any kind for school, I have to do the ‘bend test’ to check for any cleavage issues. I’ve worn tops before that I didn’t ‘bend test’ before buying, and have spent all day trying not to bend down in a way that subjected my poor children to a view of the gaping neckline of my top. It’s a pain in the neck, but I’d rather wear something with a higher neck and worry about helping my children than not helping my children as much because I’m worrying about how much of my chest is exposed when I lean over.

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5)

What is the point in wearing something expensive to school if you’re just going to worry about it getting broken/damaged? I’ve probably made it clear in the first half of this post that I like to look nice in school, however I try not to spend a fortune on anything for school because, let’s be honest, there’s always a chance that it will get covered in paint/ stretched/ creased/ damaged.

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So that’s a brief overview of my opinion on teacher clothes. What do you like to wear/loathe people wearing in the classroom?

Miss L x

Writer’s Block

Apologies for not posting in a while. There’s no real excuse really, other than I didn’t have enough to say about anything that’s happened to turn it into a substantial post! I will now, therefore, give you a short and sweet run-down of the lovely little things I’ve been up to recently…

1) Classroom-sorting. I’ve been in some more to sort bits out in my classroom. There’s still a lot more to¬†do such as board-backing and display-making, but it’s really coming together now which is lovely ūüôā I’ve also¬†been able to get to know¬†some other members of staff when I’ve been in, which I’ve really enjoyed as¬†they seem really friendly and helpful – I think I’m going to really like it there. (I might not be¬†quite so perky about my¬†classroom¬†in my next post, as that will probably be written after I’ve been in to tackle my huge and rather cluttered teacher-cupboard…¬†not entirely sure if i’ll come out of that battle alive actually…god knows what’s hiding in the back…).

2) Job-finishing. I’VE FINISHED SAINSBURY’S FOREVER! MISS L IS A FREE ELF! I had my last shift last weekend, which was really sad but lovely at the same time. I’ll really miss my lovely colleagues, I wish I could leave Sains but take them all with me and just explain to the school that I come with an entourage! We’re going out for goodbye drinks on Friday which will be lovely…and even lovelier owing to the fact that I won’t have to get up on Saturday morning!

3) Josh-tutoring. For those of you that didn’t read my blog post entitled ‘A gap in the market’, I’ve been tutoring a little boy called Josh over the summer, focusing on reading skills. I’ve really enjoyed doing this, because it’s also challenged me to find things that he will want to participate in that also require for him to read. We’ve played lots of board games, top trumps and hangman over the last few weeks! He seems to enjoy our sessions because he doesn’t realise that I’m being sneaky and getting him to read to me without him realising, and it’s lovely for me because his fluency appears to be improving each week…so I must be doing something right!

Hope everyone else is having a lovely summer!

Miss L x

 

 

Stereotypes

When someone says the word ‘teacher’ to you, what image comes into your head? Is the person young or old? Fat or thin? Smartly dressed or scruffy? Male or female? Gay or straight? From a middle class or working class background? Single or Married?

Sadly, I think most people immediately arrive at an image like this…

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It’s amazing what some people will say about what they think a teacher should be. In the area that i’m teaching in, I know I will get judged countless times because of my age. Being 21, I am the youngest a teacher can be in the UK. I already know that i’m going to have to try extremely hard to stay on top of everything so that parents won’t be muttering ‘She’s very unorganised…well, that’s lack of experience for you isn’t it!’.

What do you think a teacher should look like? Should we women all¬† wearing neutral-coloured,¬†‘sensible’ clothing that¬†covers from the top of our necks to our ankles? Should all male teachers wear suits and ties, regardless of what age group they teach? There’s a point, actually, as I believe that what a teacher wears is completely dictated by what we’re teaching. Take me, for example. I will be teaching Reception in September (4-5yrs), which means i’ll be up and down off my carpet all day long, as well as also participating in active, mucky, child-initiated learning on a daily basis. There would be no point whatsoever in me wearing my best pencil-skirt-suit combo – it just wouldn’t be practical! That is what I opt more for the dresses and leggings look when i’m teaching the little ‘uns. Don’t get me wrong, though, when I say¬†dresses I mean¬†dresses that¬†don’t stop just after my bum¬†and have a high enough neck that they won’t expose any cleavage. I like to make an effort to look young as well as professional. I won’t go into detail about my teaching wardrobe, as I feel that could be a whole separate post topic!

Whilst we’re on the subject of appearances, what about piercings and tattoos? In the area I teach in, most schools require that teachers cover any tattoos up. However, my friend teaches and lives in a large urban area in the South where, in direct contrast, the schools do not ask that teachers cover tattoos up. I actually¬†have six piercings in my ears and a stud in my nose…does that make me a bad teacher? I wear studs in my ears and nose because I don’t think it would look ‘professional’ to have a massive hoop hanging out of my nostril but, even if I did, would that affect my teaching on a day-to-day basis? I don’t know what the right or wrong answer is on this topic if i’m honest, but different towns/cities seem to have very different work-wear expectations…

 

Miss L x

 

De-cluttering

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It’s been a pretty awesome few weeks for me, as I’ve finally been able to call a room in my new school ‘MY’ classroom. Those of you who have read my other posts will know that I did know what room would be mine¬†a while back, but it feels like I can officially call it mine now the old tenant has moved out!

Myself, the other teacher and our TA’s all came in last week to sort things out/move furniture, so we finally have a picture of what the rooms will look like next year. I’m really happy with my room, it looks a lot less cluttered than it did last year, and I have little bits of my own to put up to make it more of my own such as bunting, cushions etc. We were able to put away lots of new resources that had been ordered for us too. Our small world toys were looking pretty shoddy so we de-cluttered them and introduced the old farmyard animals and people¬†to some new, shiny friends. We’re going in again sometime in the next few weeks to do some more sorting out. I imagine that will involve sorting through the cupboards in each room (mine looks a bit like everything’s just been shoved in there with no rhyme or reason!), putting out new drawer/peg labels for our little cohort and probably also backing the boards so there’s one less thing to do in September!

The other thing I need to do is sort out my ‘teacher cupboard’. I’m really lucky as it’s HUGE…I’m tempted to make a den in it so I can shut myself in there after any shoddy observations! However, there’s also years worth of¬†stuff in there that needs sorting through. There are loads of files – some of which the other teacher will take I think – as well as boxes of different resources for different topics. I don’t mind having it all in my cupboard, but I’d like to take some time to have a look through it all and know exactly what I’m housing so I know where things are when I need them!

Has anyone else been in to sort out their new classrooms?

Miss L x

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