The rot started setting in even before the end of my NQT year.
It was the year I had 34 children in my class, including several with statements of special educational need, and many with the usual multitude of other needs we are all faced with in urban schools. I had worked in schools for years in a support capacity so this was not something that entirely phased me. But this was the year I started to realise that this job might not be for life after all.
So I did the only thing possible that I could think of doing- I reduced my hours slightly.
You all know that a part time teacher ‘on paper’ still probably works 40 hours a week, so whilst it made some difference, it did not reduce the class size and all the other pressures. Expectations were that teachers would plan from scratch for each and every subject. No planning existed and we were discouraged from using the ‘lift and go’ planning you could pick up in books or the internet. The old QCA units of work were always available but even in my early days you could see they were inadequate on the whole and fairly boring. So I got my head down and tried to tailor planning that suited all the needs of the children in my class that ranged from SEN levels to NC Level 5 (pre-school to age 11+ broadly). It was a mammoth task BUT it enabled my to plan for absolutely anything- show me an objective and I’ll give you a lesson!
This meant that I very quickly gained a great deal of experience planning, delivering and assessing for a diverse group of pupils- who thankfully were an amazing group of children- and without the poor behaviour I was to meet later on. Despite the challenges, I had a great early start to my career.