Making progress on the Flexible Route

Probation still holds challenges, even for Flexible Route probationers on long-term teaching posts.

English Teacher and Flexible Route Probationer

Having spent many years in office administration work, I can say now that the things I love about teaching are that every day is different and that time flies by. I find it hard to believe that I am in the final terms of my first year of full registration.

A good start

As an English-trained probationer unable to take part in the Teacher Induction Scheme, I have probably had less of an adjustment to make compared to my Scottish counterparts since I had already been teaching full time during my extended probation period. I was also fortunate enough to obtain a permanent post at the wonderful small school where I had been covering long-term absence. This meant none of the stress of the first few weeks at a new school. Getting to know the staff and finding resources.

Challenges ahead

However, it has been a challenging year for me. This year, I have had the Primary 2 class, which has fluctuated between 26 and 29 children. Several members of the class have challenging behaviour, including a child who needs behaviour support. Unfortunately, the behaviour support has been changed about six times over the year, which has meant getting used to a different person in the classroom every few weeks.

Behaviour management

Looking back over the year so far, I can see that I have made enormous progress with the class. During the first few weeks it was a struggle to get the class to listen and follow instructions; carpet session were a nightmare and practical work a disaster! Systematically following a system of sanctions and reward has sorted most o the class out. In fact, one of the highlights this year for me has been giving a child with difficult behaviour, the class clown at the start of the year, a certificate for good behaviour.

Seating plans

I have also experimented throughout the year with different layouts and seating arrangements, including a seating plan for the carpet. I hadn't kept a count of the number of times I had changed the room around, but the children had! I have also tried out different groupings for children working together, including in pairs and small groups. This has vastly improved co-operation and social skills in the class.

Learning process

Of course, not all lessons have gone according to plan, but it is all part of the learning process and I am looking forward to next year when, numbers permitting, I will have the change to refine my teaching with another Primary 2 class.