Not a minute to spare

Hi all, it’s been awhile since I’ve added to the blog but here it goes. I’m nearly two months in as a NQT and all I’m wondering is is everyone else as exhausted as I am?! I naively thought that if I put in enough work during the Masters that I would get used to the normal teaching routine but I was wrong. It’s Wednesday and even though I know there is only 7 teaching days left before midterm I am struggling to find any energy.

I have been lucky enough to get a temporary resource post and I love it. Unfortunately due to recent (unfortunate) changes I am not able to get my restricted Dip done. I’m over that now and am finally getting somewhat used to the routine. Truthfully, when I started I really was lost. One thing I will say is that I don’t believe that many colleges are currently preparing NQT’s for resource positions. During the Masters we completed one week observation in a resource setting and it was just not adequate.

My biggest worry is that due to my inexperience I will cheat a child out of proper support or that I may miss something that I should see. I work with many different children with many unique abilities, personalities, attributes as well as difficulties. The area that is most complex at the moment is SSLD, there are so many areas under this umbrella term that it is difficult to know if you’re tackling the right area for each student as their needs vary so much. In order to do my best I’ve been staying late almost every day and working Saturday and Sunday mornings and I’m not even doing my Dip yet!

My advice to anyone starting in a resource post is to:

  1. Look at your students IEP’s and psychological report
  2. Talk to the class teacher and the students SNA (if they have one)
  3. Get to know your students, find out their interests and try to take them individually to have a one on one chat
  4. Ask LOADS of questions, ask the current staff anything and everything as this is very different to mainstream teaching

Once you start with those and gather yourself then you can look at all the programs currently available in schools, look at books and work your butt off as you’re extremely lucky to have a job!

Resource is a completely different job to what I’ve studied, I’ve learned so much that will only add to my CV. That’s all for now, I’ll enjoy every minute in resource but I’m not going to lie my heart lies in the classroom.

The Next Chapter

The summer is coming to an end and unfortunately I have not been lucky enough to secure employment in my county. As much as I would like to say I’d be happy to sub I’m really not sure if I’m comfortable with so much uncertainty. At the moment there are less than 15 jobs advertised in my county so the positive vibes are at a bit of a low. I’ve applied for everything, with only one interview but I won’t let it get me down. There are maybe about 4 people from my class that have work so it’s not just me which is somewhat reassuring.

I’m currently preparing to become the best sub around, I’ve read up on various sites what a good sub is and what teachers/school’s look for. I’ve bought and created little games and stocked up on various activities. There seems to be more learning support/resource jobs so I’ve researched a bit about what an actual learning support/resource teacher does. One thing that I would say about college is that I’m finished and I feel that I have so much left to learn, I hope that the next year will fill in some gaps.

Of course I could move to places like Dublin or Cork to get a job or at least have more of a hope but I’d rather stick it out. Many of my friends are two or three years out of college and although it has been difficult for them they have something, nothing permanent but something.

Looking down the road is a bit trickier, I’m at the age now where I’d like to think about a home, marriage and motherhood. It’s hard to know should I wait until I’m permanent until I think about any of that. It wouldn’t look great if I became permanent and then got married/pregnant straight away so it’s difficult to plan for the future. I would also love a house of my own but I can’t secure a mortgage until I’m permanent.

Being completely honest there was times where I reflected on why I decided to become a teacher and put myself and my partner through such uncertainty but then I remember this is what I wanted, I’m really good at what I do and in a few years’ time this difficult time will all be a distant memory. Towards the end of this week I’ll pop into schools with my CV, fingers crossed!

Catch 22

Well, believe it or not, I got an interview! I received an email a few weeks ago informing me that I had an interview for a resource job. The school is a DEIS Band 1 school. No word of a lie, this school is my dream school. The school culture and atmosphere is great and the resources and class sizes are also very appealing. Out of all the schools I completed my placement in I felt most at home there.

When I received the email I was subbing in a school about 45 minutes away from home. The staff were so helpful and gave me loads of advice, I’ve never been so excited to get an email. Previous to the email the school had rang me twice asking me to sub, I had to say no as I was subbing in a different school so I was even more surprised when I was called to interview. Leading up to the interview I studied every night for hours, I looked up the new curriculum, made 5 pages of notes about the school and local area and learned of the usual piece about gaeilge a chur chun cinn sa rang.

The weekend before I was so pumped, I was ready; I bought a very formal suit, practiced my answers out loud and was 100% ready. Imagine my dismay when I got a call from an inside source to say that the job was gone. The job was going to the person who went subbing in the school after I had said no as I was subbing in a different school. I genuinely felt devastated, many told me that I should have dropped the other school and subbed in the school I wanted but I had committed myself to the far away school. In my opinion it would have been very unprofessional to drop a school.

I continued my study anyway and said I’d still give it my all. Upon entering the interview I was met by the Principal, the chairperson and a representative of the Diocese. The interview could not have gone better. The questions all went very well and at the end of the interview the Principal asked me was this my first interview, I said yes to which he replied ‘that was a fantastic interview’. Well by God I was delighted. I left feeling like I still had a chance.

A few days later I received a call from the Principal, he informed that I had not been successful and that the job went to a girl who had 5 years’ experience in a DEIS school in Leinster and she was moving home. The girl was the person who took the sub work when I said no. So here I am now, feeling very sorry for myself, it was a complete catch 22! The worse part about this experience is that I truly think I won’t get an interview in any other school as the two other school’s I did my TP in are quite small so this was really my main chance for a job this year.

To make this pity party even worse I’m here at the Gaeltacht and loads of people have been called to interview and are getting jobs, I didn’t tell anyone I was called to interview so I don’t feel so ashamed but it does tinge the heart a little bit, my jealous self is peering out. So I’m just going to focus on the Gaeltacht for now and my upcoming oral exam and then worry about my life. Bye for now, promise next time I won’t be so glum.

Lost in a Sea of Roses

This is my first ever blog entry and there is so much to include I don’t know where to start. Let’s start with the basics. I’ve just completed a Professional Maters in Education at Hibernia College. The Master’s was difficult, very difficult but to be fair on our first day they gave us fair warning. There’s no way I would have survived without my Hibernia buddies, although it was so difficult I really am proud of how much we have learned, corny but true.

I laugh at the distant memory of May 2015 before I started any of my teaching practice experiences, how naïve I was. As with all industries/professions you definitely learn most on the job. Anyway, that’s all behind me now and I’ve officially joined the rat race. Between the final ten week TP and completing the thesis, I hadn’t thought about the next step at all. I did apply for my teaching council number a few months ago and I’m happy that I did as I can now do a bit of sub work.

I went to a seminar a few weeks ago which outlined the application forms and interview process for jobs. It seems so easy and straight forward but it would be naïve of me to think that I have much of a chance of getting a job in Munster this September. The competition is massive. Anytime I fill out an application form I feel like I’m being interviewed by Daithi for the Rose of Tralee. After hearing one or two of the girls they all sound the same. We all like sports and we all won a few Féile competitions back in the day. What can I do to stand out in a sea of Roses and the odd fella? I’ve applied for about 8 jobs now, in schools that I don’t know anyone in.

So many have said it’s who you know, you need contacts etc… What happens when you don’t know anyone?  A lot of my colleagues have said they’d be happy to sub next year but deep down I’d prefer to have the stability of a temporary/fixed term position. There are benefits to subbing in terms of getting your name out there but I’d really love my own class, colleagues and the independence it brings. So that’s where I am now, if I hear of anything from any of my applications I’ll update you on my preparation/freaking out.

Slán,

Bríd.