Starting out as an EYFS teacher.

This is something different to my usual blogs about teaching, but I think worth blogging about. I use Jus-Rol pastry quite often when cooking and love it. However was disappointed recently when I opened a pack that was still in date but had clearly gone off. I’m not usually one to complain about things like this but I sent a quick email to let them know about it. They replied quickly and then about a week or so later I received a cheque for £3! Not a lot but enough to buy a new pack of pastry. I thought this was a nice gesture and an example of good customer service. I will continue to use their products and recommend them to others. A small gesture can go a long way!

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This week I have my final meeting at university with my Academic Tutor who will sign me off! It is great to think that I do not have any more essays to write and I can actually start teaching. I have been fortunate to find a job in Early Years, which I have been wanting for the entire 3 years of training. Those 3 years have just flown by! York has been such a fantastic place to be a student and I have made some great friends there who are all heading in different directions.

What will I do now? I am about to start working as a supply teacher to fill up the time I have until I start my new job. It will also give me some good experience as I haven’t taught a class since February. I got up this morning at 6.45am and called in for work only to find that the schools in my area are on holiday today! I spent an hour yesterday printing off emergency lesson plans and creating my ‘supply teaching file’ so I am ready to go. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll have some work! Some good tips for supply teachers are here http://www.ugot.org/pdf/resource/supply_tips.pdf

Over the Easter holiday I spent some time building a raised bed with my boyfriend (big thank you John!) It was a good learning curve for me as I am not known for being seen with a saw in my hand! The things I need to remember for next time:

  • build 2 planks high
  • dig a hole for the stakes
  • the stakes don’t need to be as long as my guide says!

Time to get the plants in!

I am now getting very close to the end of my teaching degree. It has flown by! I am now off for a few weeks for Easter so that I can crack on with my essays and find a job. If anyone else is at this stage right now, I’d recommend you sign up with a supply agency. I have and will be earning money in June (woohoo!) and aside from the money it’s good experience.

In preparing us for getting a job, university decided to pick a few unlucky people to do a mock interview infront of a group of about 20 people. I was one of the unlucky bunch and it was a scary thing to do. Although I am very glad I went through it as the feedback I recieved was really useful and I found that after that my first real interview wasn’t as scary. This website was a great help to me when writing my personal statement. It has a good structure for you to follow. There’s also another page with some example interview questions which are useful too. Good luck to you if you are applying for jobs 🙂

I have been having some input this week about Steiner schools, particularly the kindergarten phase. The Steiner approach is rather different to mainstream schooling in the UK. If you don’t know anything about it then I would recommend you take a look at their website. Today we were fortunate enough to have a visiting speaker talk to us about her experience of working in a Steiner kindergarten. It was very interesting to hear what happens and to compare this with a mainstream early years setting. Here are some of the main points I picked up from the Steiner approach:

 

  • Rhythm and repetition are crucial.
  • Children are able to be imaginative and creative.
  • All toys and furniture are natural and there are no bright colours.
  • Teachers should be worthy of imitation.
  • Story time – children are told stories instead of them being read.
  • Children’s work is not displayed.
  • Formal learning does not begin until the age of 7.
  • There is no ICT in a Steiner setting.

Some of these I am more keen on than others, for example I would be keen to introduce children in reception to some of the uses of ICT and it is quite an important tool to me. However the emphasis on creativity and imagination is something I think is very important in early years education.

I have had a great time on my final teaching practice. I have spent 8 weeks in a year 2 class, the last three of those weeks I was teaching 80% of the time. I really enjoyed teaching and have learned so many valuable things. One of the most important things I will take with me is taking ideas from the children and ensuring they have a voice in the classroom.  The staff I worked with were brilliant and I had a very supportive mentor which makes a big difference to your experience as a trainee teacher. I am really looking forward to finding a job as an NQT. I do however need to complete my final semester at university but I have worked out that I have less than 3 months left so I am getting very excited about it. Time to get back to reading and academic writing!

Research

As this is now my final year at university I am required to undertake a small research project. I realise I in a better position than my friends on other courses who are all doing huge dissertations and in comparison, mine is relatively small. However they have not spent half of their time on teaching practice like me so I feel this is a fair deal 🙂

My research is to be based on a key issue in Early Years education and I am to use the school I am currently placed in. Immediately I think of outdoor learning as the school have just developed their outdoor area for Foundation and this is an area I am really interested in. The only drawback is that I would like to use forest schools as a topic for another assignment and having the same topic of outdoor learning for two assignments is not allowed! I have already made links with forest schools so ditching that would not be an option. So I am now left with another key issue to find that would be relevant to my school. I am quite interested in parental involvement so this may be something to look into. I think the school have also been working on this too so it could be an interesting issue and one that would benefit my classroom practice.

I am going to give myself 1 week to make a decision on this and then I’ll update this post.

Update: (took longer than a week!) I am going to do the outdoor area as the teacher in school thinks this is most relevant to the school. I am allowed to do this too it just means my knowledge won’t be quite as broad as it could be but it will be more in-depth. Now to decide what exactly to focus on.

 

Early Years Research:

I did come across this site which may be useful for general advice: http://www.researchwriters.co.uk/