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A lesson learned

Christina Murphy looks back at her first few weeks of teaching, and the lessons she has learned.

Primary Teacher, Cornton Primary School, Stirling

My university bubble was well and truly burst on the 20 August 2012 - my first day at my new post of 'Probationer Teacher'. A change from my four years as 'Student Teacher', yet I still had that security of a word before teacher.

My first class

I always longed to have my own class and my own desk because 'I would do that...' and 'I would never do that', therefore it was only logical that on my first hour of setting up my classroom, I arranged and rearranged my desk numerous times. The placement of my pen pot seemed vitally important at that time. However, I soon realised that no amount of desk organising would prepare me for that feeling at nine o'clock on my first day of teaching.

All the hours of study, essays, exams, teaching practice and here I am! So how was it? Fantastic! Yes, it was daunting and nerve racking and all those other feelings - but nothing could get in the way of that feeling of knowing that I'm doing the thing I always wanted to do for as long as I can remember - but this time someone was paying me. Being paid to do this was just the cherry on top of the cake.

Continuing to learn

I have always subscribed to the expression that 'children do not work they learn' and this is how I feel about my job. I'm not working i'm learning. Learning how to be a better teacher, through improving my pedagogy, learning through reflecting on my practice, learning about the children in my class, learning about the profession in which I work...I could go on, because learning is what I'm doing all day every day. That is part of the reason that I wanted to be a teacher. In school I was one of those children who had a thirst for knowledge and learning that I still have that and part of my job is to continually learn - kudos to me!

Prioritising

In saying that there is one thing I think would help me to do my job even better! Did you ever watch Bernard's Watch? Well, it was about a boy who had a magical watch and he could freeze time - Bernard, if you're out there and you no longer need your watch, give me a shout!

I teach children that there are 24 hours in a day, but sometimes I think the Earth is tricking me and spinning faster when I have a big to-do-list! However, things got better when I decided not to get bogged down by my to-do-list. I quickly realised I would never get to the bottom of it. I would score something off and something else would get added. So then my priorities started to kick in, I began to ask myself, 'what is going to impact on my teaching if I don't tick it off' and 'what can I score off because it is of no use to me at all?' You then start sorting things in your mental to-do-list - staged intervention meeting you say, well that's right at the top!

Christina Murphy
Cornton Primary School