I have been teaching for 20 years! Oh my goodness did I just say that? I graduated from Stranmillis Teaching College, Belfast in 1996. I studied for 4 years and I obtained an English Honours Degree and my B.Ed. I also gained my T.E.F.L (Teaching English as a foreign Language). I studied in France, Chartres, in my 3rd year and received an "A" grade in my teaching.
I have taught the following classes over the 20 years: P3/4, P.4, P1, P.6, back to P.4, back to P.1 and now I teach Primary Two - the best class in the school to teach!
I love teaching in the foundation stage and I'm delighted that I am the link teacher with our local Nursery ( best staff ever in that little nursery :-)). The Foundation Stage is the most rewarding age group to teach and you always get to smile each day - life is never dull!
Why am I a teacher and what type of teacher do I inspire to be? This is a hard question to answer. As a mother of 3 - I know that I want to be the teacher that I want my children to have.
When I was in Primary 2 I told my mum that I would like to be a teacher when I grow up or work in a Fish and Chip shop. I wonder why (even today) why I went with job number one. I always wanted to cover chips with salt and vinegar!!!?????
The qualities that I feel are most important are: being passionate about the job and to have a ton of patience. Having a genuine interest in the job itself is vital. If you really want to make a difference in a child's life and genuinely want each and every child to learn, then this is the job for you.
You must know and understand that education is constantly changing and if you are a "set in your way" type of person, then this is not the ideal job for you. You need to be open to the possibility of taking on new trends and ideas and implement these into your classroom. If you are a student teacher about to enter into the big, wide world of teaching - I would recommend doing a course on teacher interview tips or checkout teachers who promote this on You-tube. I have linked at the bottom of this page an excellent course that you could check out online on how to get the teaching job that you want through following their interview tips.
I love trying out new ideas and I am delighted when these ideas work well. I'm also the teacher that tries out ideas and throws the ideas/trends that don't work out the window.
A good teacher should recognise that there will be good days and bad days. What's that saying - "Never work with children or animals?" Celebrate and reflect on the good and smile through the bad.
My favourite lessons I love organising lessons that the children are involved in their own planning. Giving the children the skeleton and they build up the rest. I love seeing children busy and totally involved.
I was the teacher in 1997, that from a general chat about the litter around the school suddenly set up a "Litter Patrol" team and started creating with the children a Rainforest down the entire top corridor - once the pupils linked the importance of recycling with trees.
The Northern Ireland Curriculum today embraces this style of teaching - Child input / child led curriculum, but in 1997 I was just the "crazy teacher". lol.
The lovely aspect of this type of lesson is that children remember their learning. I got an email from a guy - who is now a dad, who I had taught in that class and he wanted to thank me for that very lesson! He was the pilot in the aeroplane that we made in the classroom (to travel to the rainforest of course) and he remembered every detail - making the passports, tickets, going for pretend interviews to get the job, learning about where the Rainforests are (map reading) and all the Creative Art work that was needed to make the Rainforest look exactly like the Rainforest (that we could see on tv or photographs)...... Oh if only we had had our Ipads and "Google" then.
Now I enjoy using planning boards/ mind-maps and rolled up backing paper - displaying our ideas/ pictures/ cuttings from magazines as the topic develops.
I love planners and I use the Erin Condren Teacher planner! Very American but I just love the fact that it bursts with colour and isn't boring - so I have no issues with picking it up and using it.
If you decide to order from Erin Condren - use this referral link and receive 10% off your order. Teachers in Northern Ireland deserve the best products too. In our profession you should treat yourself once and a while.
I also love dipping in and out of my Filofaxes ( I told you that I love planning!)
And finally I make my own planning books. Overall, I'm a planner addict and I reckon if you are interested in that aspect of the job I will need a new page just on planning. Check out my page on my planners once I have it up and running.
Going back to teaching - My favourite aspect of teaching within the foundation stage is: Exploring the outdoors - whatever the weather! We keep our wellies in school every day. If an opportunity arises we get our wellies on and go and explore.
My main hobby (obsession) is on planning - I have over fifty filofaxes and I make my own junk journals and books. I have made several teacher planners and I love devising books that I want to pick up in my classroom. Oh and I am now creating my own clipart as a lovely present at Christmas has totally inspired me. Intuos drawing graphic tablet!!! So that is fuelling my love of creating my own resources.
So that is me in a nut-shell - Any questions - email me!
Check out the courses on teacher interview tips by clicking the links.