Today marked the end of my first year of teaching.
I have awaited this day for a very long time, and it has come about through my work in 23 schools across the Government, Catholic and Independent school sectors.
To commemorate this day, I thought I would share excerpts from my very first reflective journal entry, and publish my Top 5 list of First Year memories & special moments. Here goes:
My First Journal Entry: Week 8, Term 2 2009
“In the final days of my university degree, I recall my lecturer advising us to keep a diary or journal during our first year of teaching. She said that this record of our experiences would become a keepsake in later years. Now, as I begin my first entry, I hope that this marks the start of a more frequent reflection on my experiences. …
Over the course of my first 50 days of teaching, my conscious reflection on my teaching strengths and weaknesses has led to a remarkable transformation in my teaching style and confidence.
I won’t forget my first class, a Year 6 at [name removed], in any hurry. I replaced a graduate teacher (an old university colleague) whose father had died suddenly. The class was naturally unsettled, and their relief teacher was a nervous wreck. These two factors ensured a rather ‘interesting’ day, and I even walked out the wrong entrance on my way home!
As the weeks went by, I was gradually exposed to more schools, and started implementing my pet astronomy project. I encouraged my classes to write to NASA and the Perth Observatory as part of the International Year of Astronomy 2009.
This activity generated a lot of discussion and interest, and [name removed] did eventually receive a reply from NASA. In hindsight, I would have planned the activity more thoroughly, contacting astronomers and observatories to find people willing to engage in the project. As my relief activity repertoire grew, I ultimately abandoned this activity.
As Term 1 turned into Term 2, I spent a significant amount of time working at [name removed]. I am grateful to the staff and students of this school, who have supported and stimulated my professional growth in the areas of behaviour management, fitness games, and as a facilitator of student learning. “
As I look back on my early journal entries, I can see the incredible personal & professional transformation I have undergone in my first year of teaching. I am no longer a “nervous wreck”, and have vastly improved classroom management and relief teaching skills.
Remembering the terrible stress & exhaustion of my early days, I am grateful for the opportunities & professional growth relief teaching has afforded me.
I’m on a journey, and its’ been one hell of a ride!