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Life beyond probation

Working in more than one school after her probation period was a benefit to her, writes Nicola McGowan.

Primary Teacher

I'll start with an admission: I didn't secure permanency upon completion of my probation period. And I actually feel this was beneficial to my development as a teacher as I had the privilege to work in three different schools after leaving initial teacher education.

Starting out

During my probation period I taught a composite P1/2 class in a three teacher school within a small rural community. Sadly, there was no opportunity for me to gain employment within the school at the end of my probationary period.

However, I was extremely lucky in next securing a temporary position in a nearby two teacher school where I taught a composite P1/3 class. I was able to draw on my experience from my probation period and further extend my knowledge through teaching an additional class.

Upon completion of my second teaching post, I secured a permanent job in a very large school made up of three classes for each year group.

Although this was a contrast to the rural schools where I began my career, I found I could draw a great deal from my experiences. These contributed significantly to my personal and professional development.

Getting involved

Gaining employment in two small schools ensured I was greatly involved in all of the school developments and initiatives, enhancing my confidence in working as part of the whole school team when I joined the larger school.

The level of differentiation required in teaching a composite class led to significant development in my ability to identify and cater for a range of needs within the larger single stage classes I have since taught.

I was able to observe a range of teaching styles and have had the opportunity to draw upon a great deal of good practice taking place within each of the schools.