Coming to the end of teacher training, graduating and supply teaching

Hello lovely people, welcome back to The Blushing Giraffe. I almost cannot believe I'm finally writing this post, as it is one that has been in the works for a while, but also a topic I (sometimes) felt just wouldn't arrive - teacher training is finally over! And I don't want to say that in an ungrateful way in the slightest, because it has been an amazing journey. However, when they say it is tough - they are not kidding.

Teacher training has been the most gruelling year of my life and I felt just as proud graduating as a qualified teacher, as a I did last year when I actually donned the cap and gown and walked across a stage for my Psychology degree. In many ways I have grown this year, mentally I feel like I am so much more capable of taking on challenges, emotionally I am able to deal with my stress and high pressure environments 20X better than I could at the start of September and lets be really honest - I've grown outwards too. I have definitely put on a couple of KG and I'm struggling with how to even feel about it, perhaps thats for another blog post though.

I kind of covered this in my last update post, so in order to make this a little more useful, I wanted to give you 3 tips if you're coming to the end of your course too. Who knows, reading this now before you start the course could help, but this is more of a post to come back to in around 9 months,  so perhaps book mark it ;D

3 tips for the end of teacher training

1. Don't stress the small stuff
At this point in your training, you will be teaching around the equivalent of an NQT and although it will have been built up it is still a shock to the system. You will be on the go from the start of the day, till that sigh of relief when the last child has met their parent and left the building! But don't let this fool you, because then you have to mark the work from today (sometimes 4 or 5 lessons worthy woopy!), check over plans for the rest of the week and plan resources, tidy up the classroom before the cleaner comes around and do other general paperwork. So YES. There is a lot to do and the days feel very long, especially when it is so hot in the classroom and the kids are getting irritable too! Point being, don't stress the small things, don't worry about the bits that won't matter if you look at the bigger picture. By this point you have to remember that you will have proven a LOT of what you have needed to do to your mentor and in official observations, you just have to keep up the highest standard that you can - without worrying about those tiny niggly things that (don't actually matter too much).

2. Behaviour in the classroom will dip and this is okay
I remember something that was really disheartening for me in the final few weeks, was the behaviour of the children in the class I had worked in for most of the year, really flipped around. Children who were on their best behaviour on the whole, started being silly and making the wrong choices and as for the characters in the class, my goodness it was tough lesson by lesson on some days. Part of this point is the fact that I was training in Year 6 and they get endoftermitus real quick, feeling super excited for Year 7 and just a little bit too big for their boots! However this is a common theme across the school, children are tired and irritable and actually routines completely change because it is all about assemblies, performances and winding down. So despite you working hard on getting the behaviour techniques down and building bonds with the children they will misbehave and it will be frustrating, disappointing and quite overwhelming. It is normal and its the same for all teacher, those who have 1 year of experience and those who have 40+. Whilst getting routines down is excellent, at the end of the day they are children and therefore they sometimes make more mistakes than the average adult! Stay calm, but remain resilient with the way you handle behaviour, sometimes upping it a notch if need be. For example I would start my 'time wasting minutes timer' as soon as they didn't respond to the shaker to stop, therefore they would end up missing part of their break even with a couple of weeks till the end of term.

3. Spend the weekends doing Quam paperwork as often as possible
They may not always be called QUAM, but whatever your teacher training course calls it, that final assessment of you where they see lots of evidence towards the teacher standards, is the most important and it's similar to the dissertation of your degree. It is partly your chance to show off your fantastic achievements throughout the year, but also the time when you have to prove that you are able to meet the standards to a good degree. I think the trickiest part about it is only wanting to show the best of the best, which in some cases hasn't even happened yet, so knowing when to gather the evidence is crucial. I recommend you get a notebook and list out every single teacher standard with the substandards and then leave a box next to it for 'obtained' another space to write what the evidence is and also a box for 'complete'. This is something I wish I had done a lot earlier on, for previous QUAMs because it helped me to be a lot more organised and calm! I hope the quick snapshot below makes things clearer as to what I mean ^_^ Once you've done this, or devised your own similar system, dedicate a good 3-4 hours per weekend going over this because trust me, snapping a photo of some marking you've responded to, or screenshotting your assessment records is the easy bit. Your next job is to explain what the evidence is, how it has impacted the children and how it will impact your future practice. This needs to be done for every single sub-standard at least once, preferably more - don't under-estimate how long it actually takes!

We had a small graduation ceremony to mark becoming qualified teachers and it was such a lovely evening, because our mentors and families were all present. Unfortunately by this point I had started supply teaching, so I almost forgot about the ceremony that evening, got ready in a rush and forgot my lipstick D: Which wasn't a great look - ohhhh first world problems, I know! But I'm sure my makeup lovers can relate haha. Aside from being lipstick-less though, it was lovely to finally be able to say 'I'm officially a qualified teacher and all that hard work has paid off!'. It was also so nice seeing the rest of the cohort walk the stage too, especially some of the really sweet ladies who were like our course mums and sisters, always there was an extra sheet and a hug when you felt like it was all getting too much!

Supply Teaching
I made the decision to apply for supply teaching in the May half term, because a teacher who was also working in Year 6 recommended it. As we qualified three weeks before the end of term, it made sense to then start working a little before the summer - both for the experience and for the money! I wasn't sure what it would be like, but phoning the company and setting up a meeting was easy. They asked me to send over a C.V, so I pretty much googled teaching C.V and wrote one up using the application form for my new school to help me. Although getting all the paperwork sorted whilst preparing for QUAM was a bit of a struggle, I'm so glad I did it, because once I was on the system I was sorted for post-grad. Literally the week before I graduated I was offered a school for the whole 3 weeks, which at first wasn't what I was hoping for as I did want to experience different schools and year groups. However my time in Year 2 at this school was so lovely and I have to say it was a big relief to be able to do that because I became familiar with the school within 3 days and got to know the kids pretty well! It was a really interesting experience being in KS1, since I've spent the majority of the year in Year 6 and although there wasn't a LOT of proper learning going on, it still tested my knowledge of phonics as I was doing that daily for two weeks. It was so heartwarmingly adorable to see how quickly 7-year-olds get attached to teachers, despite only being there for 3 weeks, on the last day I got four gifts and numerous cards - including one which said 'I'll kip you in my hart foreva even thoh I'm moving on to big skool' 😭 SOOOO CUTE!

I loved getting paid again after a looooong time and I mostly loved experiencing a different school, key stage and class - seriously I recommend supply teaching to all of you teacher to be, in the final few weeks. An excellent experience for more ways than one. Also I didn't think I would enjoy supplying so much - it's definitely a possible career move for my future now ^_^

By the way, if you ARE about to start your training this September, check out this post here which has three tips for beginners!

I hope you enjoyed this post and mostly found it helpful!

link for lashes here

Thank-you for reading