Thursday, 10 April 2014

My Journey

Seen a few posts like this recently and they've inspired me to write my own version.

I'm not even 30. I turn the big three oh in September when I'll have been teaching 7 years.
After college I applied straight away to university, I'd done Sports Science and was delighted to have been accepted to complete a degree with the intention of doing a PGCE and becoming a PE Teacher.

I'd always wanted to teach and Sports Science, whilst enjoyable didn't seem relevant to me, I didn't want to know the in depth scientific detail behind trampoline jumps... I wanted to know how to teach them. So slap bang in the middle of my first year, without taking any exams I dropped out and reapplied to Primary Education.

Now I was at home, I was finally learning the science behind teaching! It was what I'd always wanted to do and was very comfortable in a classroom. I completed my 4 year degree in 2008 and graduated with a 2:1 and got a job straight away. Mainstream, year 4 which I did for 2 years. I quickly learnt that my forte (can you have a forte that early in your career? - maybe not, I did though) was unpicking gaps in the knowledge of SEN learners and scaffolding their learning to fill the gaps to move on.

In learning this, I moved to work with pupils with moderate learning difficulties. Working with KS3 and 4 pupils ranging from P6-level 3. Again, I learnt a new forte, facilitating P scale learners to access the curriculum in a class of level 2-3 pupils. I only had 1 or 2 so a lot of adapting was required. It was then that I was encouraged to apply for an AST role and was observed several times with classes with P Scale students in and was praised heavily for their level of engagement and the differentiation I had to provide. I remained as an AST for just over a year and spent time supporting mainstream teachers including P Scale learners within their classes and designing curriculums/provision for them. I also completed a post graduate degree in Specific Learning Difficulties and became an  AMBDA qualified dyslexia tutor.

I left that job just under a year ago... Reluctantly. I moved from Essex to Suffolk with my partner and needed to relocate. I decided to make a change, whilst is enjoyed MLD I'd gotten to a stage where I needed a new challenge, something that I'd have to work hard at and develop new skills in. So I applied for jobs in Special Needs Schools where I'd be working with pupils with SLD and PMLD.

Well, as my original post on this blog said... I've had a massive culture shock. I'm still not at a stage where I feel that I'm 'good' at this job despite having received 2 observations of 'Good' and 'Outstanding' (however I'm pleased that I received outstanding as I had made significant changes to improve my classroom structure and teaching). I still find everyday that I'm learning, but not enough. I've always wanted to know more than I already do and in this job I can't seem to learn quick enough.

One of my biggest problems is I'm having to learn how to teach KS1 and EYFS - whilst learning about SLD and PMLD learners. I'm finding that I've yet to grasp my imaginative side and see as a 5 year old, especially a 5 year old with severe SEN! I'm getting there though... Just slowly, very slowly. Some days I come out frazzled, feeling like I've not succeeded in teaching anything, just mainly keeping them happy. Sometimes it's easier to avoid the battles that sitting and doing leads to with my ASD class. But, when asked if I wanted to move to KS4 recently... I said no.

So this is my journey, I think I'm in the right place.. Because I don't believe that a job should be easy. I want to have to think... To learn... To develop.

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