My first week in Primary 1

Miss J talks about her first week with her Primary 1 class.

Primary Teacher

Somehow I’ve reached the middle of my second week as a Primary 1 teacher; the summer holidays are now a distant memory. I have a blurry memory from the end of June, at my council Induction Day, being told that in August I would have my very own P1 class . . . Cue panic, excitement and the sudden realisation that “you never get P1 as a probationer” was a complete myth.

Settling in

Now, at the start of my second full week, I couldn’t be happier with my little P1 class, having loved my infant placement during my PGDE course and realising how satisfying it is to have a class to call my own. My summer, filled with manic trips to IKEA (to make the class look welcoming), empty coloured ink cartridges (for wall displays), and desperately trying to memorise the Jolly Phonic songs, seems like a year ago rather than just a few short weeks.

Time has flown by since finding out the name of my school (also at the Induction Day), my initial visit to the school, finding out which classroom was mine and taking a look at all the (hundreds and often brilliant) resources available to me. During the summer break I made sure I had read and understood the nursery profiles I had of the class, made hundreds of name labels and had hour-long laminating sessions.

The first week started with two in-service days and a lot of information, much of it completely over my head. Wednesday hit me suddenly and I was presented with 15 nervous but smiling little faces and about 30 other emotional faces of the parents, grandparents and other friends/family members dropping their children off for their First Day At School. The first three days passed by so quickly with the exhausting repetition of routines, behaviour expectations and learning as much about my class as I could.

Last week we started phonics and introducing numbers whilst reiterating the routines and introducing the school-wide Golden Time behaviour system. The children have been completely exhausted being in school full time and seemingly forgot all the structure I had emphasised in the first week. Yet to their credit have got stuck into the work and kept telling me how much they love school (massive smug face!).

Hints and tips

I have quickly realised that the key to being a successful P1 teacher in the first few weeks is to be overly organised, yet completely flexible as visitors (yes Toothbrushing lady I’m looking at you!) will often interrupt mid-lesson. Behaviour is something which I am really focusing on and have been learning a lot about from the other teachers and specialists from the ASN unit attached to the school. This week I am introducing more behaviour strategies as I keep being told that if I don’t get this perfected early on it will be a nightmare later in the term. Although I am missing my long summer lie ins I love having my own class and will keep you posted with how things are going as the class (and I!) start our journey at school!