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A probationer's perspective

Looking back on my probation year, I have found it hard to understand how a year goes by so quickly. It certainly does not seem like a year has passed since I started setting up my classroom. Although it is very quick it is also challenging, and at times I did wonder how I was going to get all the work done.

Don't panic

The first big worry was my first day as a teacher. I had suffered sleepless nights for weeks beforehand wondering what to do. Following on from this, were more sleepless nights about the lessons I had planned. Then the day came to go to school and teach my class, and to my surprise, the minute I opened the door and let the children in, all of my anxieties disappeared. For the first time, I really felt like a teacher.

Manage and prioritise

Following on from the initial first days, I began to find my feet in the classroom, and discovered that I really enjoyed working with the children. However, I was not initially prepared for the vast amount of paperwork involved. This was something that I found overwhelming at first, and wondered how I could get it all done. However, I overcame this by managing my time carefully and prioritising my workload. Soon I had my own system in place, which helped me to deal with the paperwork.

Organisation

One aspect of teaching that I feel cannot be underestimated is organisation. I always ensured that my lessons were planned, and all of my resources were organised well in advance. Doing this facilitates the smooth running of the lesson. It also avoids any stressful situations that might arise from being under-planned and under-prepared.

Time out

During my probationer year, my time out of class was a saving grace. I would advise future probationers to use this time well, as it really helps to ease some of the pressure. I used most of this time to complete the GTC Scotland profile, as this is something that would prove to be very time consuming if not kept up to date. Using this time constructively allows you to get to grips with what you have achieved so far as a probationer and what you still need to cover.

Don't be afraid to ask

As a probationer, you are under a great deal of pressure to prove yourself to be a good teacher. The best piece of advice I could offer any probationer would be to ask for help when you need it. Burying your head in the sand will only cause you more stress. Probationer teachers are not expected to know everything. It is presupposed that at some point you will need some help. Put the other teachers in your school to good use. They have a level of expertise that is far greater than that of a probationer teacher, and in my experience, they are always more than happy to offer relevant help and support.

Chiara Pannozzo
New Primary Teacher