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First Year Mixed Class Doubts!


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Hi there- first of all I hope that you have all had lots of fun over the festive period and all the best for 2007 a happy new year!

I have had time to relax and even enjoyed a break away to Devon with friends but now I am back and thinking about work again all my worries and problems seem to be flooding back.

 

I am not sure where to really begin apart from the fact I have had a difficult time during my first two terms at my new small village school. I was appointed as the rec/yr1 class teacher and I have an even split of the two 15 children in each yr group.

 

I am in need of a virtual hug for sure!

 

I need some of you more experienced teachers/practitioners to tell me that my belief in education and my teaching has not all been wasted. For the first time in 6 years (that includes my training) I feel as though my love of the job and the joy I once had for it is fading fast and all the life is being drained out of me.

 

I have been working so hard to get to grips with the planning from both curriculums. From going on a course about being new to teaching reception I have implemented what I believe to be good practice I have split my classroom in to the 6 areas of learning and done my best with very limited and poor/tired resources. I have no real outdoor area but a small Wendy house and Ofsted picked up on this last year before I joined the school. Basically every day is a battle for space and I often feel that the children are tripping over each other. I know what I would like to have outside and they are great ideas, the money is there but with little support I feel that there is only so much I can do alone and awful as it sounds there are other things I want to make sure I have right first.

 

The year 1's I have are of quite a low ability and therefore demand a lot of TA time and attention too. I have a boy in my class with very severe special educational needs and he is not statemented yet but all including his parents believe that he should be. He comes in full time as of next Monday.

I have also had increasing pressures from the Senco to plan for him using the p-scales which I know is not right for Reception children but it is what I have been asked to do and from reading previous threads I know that I should state this and make a stand. Plus not really sure how best to use them!

If anybody has any pre-school experience and could let me know any activity ideas or planning as I think these simple motor control games and so on would be best for him. On a positive his behaviour has improved massively, but it can still be challenging when you have got the others to that magical point of hanging off of your every word then something distracts them.

 

I do feel as though my eagerness to fit in to an already very tight knit school have been in vain and that all of my efforts have gone unnoticed and unpraised. I don't think it is much to ask for other members of staff to interact and encourage one another.

I am the only one who travels an hour each way daily to get there which I know was my choice but is also a hiderance.

 

I have one fantastic TA who works so well alongside me amd understands how I work. She plays brilliantly alongside the children questioning and observing. If it had not been for her I am sure I would have left already. (Perhaps I could pick her up and take her with me to my next position?!?)

 

My other TA who is unfortunately also my TA in the afternoons when the other goes home, is a strong and complex character who I am yet to bond with. When I sat her down for a gentle review of her performance and just asked her to try not to be so negetive with the children she argued back at me making it very uncomfortable then ran to tell another senior member of staff our private discussion. She acts in a highly unprofessional manner and I am yet to hear back from my head about what to do and how best to approach this tension next week. (if I am honest this is what is worrying me the most)

 

As you can see I am already building up a picture of what I am struggling against and it has been a lot to take on.

I know I am doing my best and the teacher who retired before me said that it took her years to get the balance of a mixed year right and then she still wasnt sure but I am at a loss of what to do next!

 

I am worried for my health and confidence if I stay as I have fairly low self-esteem anyway. Part of me hugely wants to continue to the end of the year to prove to myself and others that I can do it and overcome anything thrown at me. I know that the parents and children are happy so surely that counts for a lot?

 

If anybody has any advice or a good proforma for a resignation letter then that would be gratefully received.

 

I do think I may need to cut my losses and move on perhaps to find somewhere already well run/established nearer to home (I have visited such wonderful practice) and perhaps with a 2-3 form entry so I can learn alongside others to illiminate the isolation factor.

If anybody is or knows of anyone from around my area please could they get in contact. This site has been a godsend but it would also help to have someone to chat to locally that may understand what it is like.

 

I did not know all of these factors when I accepted the job of course and I also did not think that it would end up with me even considering a change of career altogether.

 

Congratulations and thank-you if you have managed to make it to the end of this epic!!!

Sorry if it seems like a ridiculously long moan but I did need to put it all down on paper somewhere!

 

Cheers L x

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NO WISE WORDS OF EXPERIENCE BUT A HUGE VIRTUAL HUG FOR YOU,

 

What a difficult situation you are in, I feel for you, I am in a job that I am unsure of and it really does affect your self-esteem and subsequently your health, not the best way to start 2007 is it?

 

You really need to be positive and look after yourself,

 

other forum members with relevant, brilliant, qualified advice will come along (they always do, they're brilliant) after me I am sure to help guide and support you,

 

I just wanted to reach out and send a big empathetic, virtual hug, good luck - keep us informed and use the forum to support you.

 

:):)

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Virtual hugs from me too :D

 

I am in preschool so find it difficult to understand the year mix, school ethos etc that you so obviously feel.

I hope that putting it all down has helped in itself.

 

May I suggest you give yourself a huge pat on the back for being such a dedicated person to your profession, I know this because your post is very honest and although a bit jumbled, details specific areas which need changing.

 

It is a shame you couldn't just give a copy of your post to your head and see what support/understanding/and practical advice you could get from your current work colleagues.

 

It does appear that you have half decided to move on, in the meantime may I suggest you identify each issue in a list, cross off all the issues that are out of your control then place the remaining issues in priority order.

 

Maybe then you could come back to us on the forum for support / ideas of these specific issues, one at a time, start as many threads as you like, within each relevant forum catagory ( that will ensure that like minded / experienced others can help) ie: I know there is a lady 'Square peg' who may be able to advice about your child with SEN. If a post is put into the SEN catagory ( found in the Forum index) then she may be more likely to find it. :o

 

Only other advice is regards your less co-operative TA, start this term as you mean to go on, don't let her get you down and be confident to communicate excactly what you expect from her ( not up for discussion - especially if her attitude is wrong towards the children) you are the teacher and it is your class. xD

 

Enjoy the children as much as you can :D and hopefully you won't feel like leaving the profession.

 

Good luck, let us know how you get on.

 

Peggy

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Oh Lisa, big hugs for you.

I am not surprised that you feel the way you do but do remember Rome wasnt built in a day.

You have identified your problems / worries. You also know that your health and sanity are at risk if you cannot get sorted so you must take steps to at least ease the way while you look for a new job, if that is your decision. You have good grounds for wanting to move on and if you see something you fancy then go for it.

If there is one thing I have learnt it is that a good teacher always wants to do her/his best and in striving to do that will often see the negatives rather than the positives so take heart. I am sure that you are doing a better job than you think. If you can confide in another memeber of staff, the head or deputy then that would probably help too or contact your LEA advisor, most areas seem to have cluster groups of some sort nowadays--one good thing to come from profile moderation!

 

Good luck and keep talking, that at least will help.

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You really sound like you are going through it - worrying about going into work and losing sleep too I imagine??

 

The great thing is that you know you are doing a FAB job - the children and the parents are proof of that. However, you are right that you do need support and recognition from others.

 

I handed my notice in just before Christmas. It came as an absolute shock to my manager - which obviously means she has been walking round with her eyes and ears shut! She promised me the earth if I would stay, and I said that I would give it a go, but would only stay if my 'demands' were met.

 

Perhaps you should meet with your head and say that you are thinking of leaving. Go prepared with a list of things that need changing, but also go with some solutions. It's worth a shot - half of you wants to stay and half of you wants to leave - so let them try and sort it for you - and then make up your mind.

 

As it turns out for me, most of their promises were false - but it may turn out differently for you.

 

Let us know what happens.

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Have you tried contacting your local Early Years Advisor / Foundation stage advisory teacher? I think mixed age classes (especially reception/year 1) in small village schools must be really difficult. I'm sure you are doing a good job. I know these small schools can seem quite 'cliquey' (spelling?) , try and find out about cluster groups in your area. It really helps to talk to other like minded people.

Good luck for the new term.

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Guest tinkerbell

Hi LIsa

I have a R/Yr1 class and have been teaching in a small village school for the past 16 years!

Only in the past couple of years have I felt i have manged the mixed aged teaching and I'm still changing things.

I take the Norfolk planning and also their planning for mixed YR1/YR2 and use that as a base for my planning.The outdoor area is accessed through another classroom which is a pain.My Ta like yours is wonderful and works well with the children.

Last year I had an autistic child who came with a statement and support person..the support person took and still takes a lot of time teaching her how to work.

All I can advise Lisa is stick at it ,i mentor a NQT next door in a yr1/yr2 class and she has had similar problems with her Ta's...they feel threatened at change and they can be harder work than the children.The NQT is turning the corner with hers ,but it has taken the term,she has meetings in assembly time with them and makes things very clear what she would like them to do, they had been used to a freer regime ,photocopying,displays etc,she (rightly so )wants them to work with the children.

Do you have a member of staff on the SMT you can talk too before going to the head?

Please keep at it I am sure things will work out, you sound to have everything in place, it would be such a shame to let it go

HUG HUG HUG

Tinkerbellxx

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Thinking of you Lisa. Have taught mixed 1 and 2 before and that was hard enough.

Keep positive, things can only get better and listen to all the words of wisdom posted here, you WILL sort it.

Liz x

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sorry, no words of wisdom I'm afraid. It sounds like a nightmare and you will need to have some belief in your ability or you'll go under ! If one of your TAs is on your wave length and working well with you and the children you can't be doing a bad job. Chin up and take some time to look after yourself.

Harricroft xx

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Hi thanks for all of your advice and support.

I will try and contact square peg through the SEN forum and I also looked at some Norfolk planning which is one that I can't believe I didn't know! It's been very helpful.

 

I have also now finally decided for definite to hand my notice in next Monday and I will explain to my head all of the reasons why.

 

Funnily enough- just from searching for new jobs on the internet today I already feel a bit more energised and in control. It's like a weight has already been lifted in my head and I feel powerful again and ready for a fresh start.

Maybe a change of career is not what I need just somewhere I can deliver my enthusiasm for teaching and learning properly!

 

Wish me luck and I will let you all know how it turns out!

 

All the best and thanks again

 

L XXX

:o

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This is what is great about this forum, we can 'sound off' get all our thoughts out onto 'virtual' paper, so to speak, and this in itself helps toward making a final decision. It is good because we are not judged or made to feel bad about anything we lay out as 'our thoughts'. just supported with empathy and understanding. :)

 

I'm glad you have been able to come to your decision which must be right for you, and also glad that you still are motivated to stay in this profession. :D

 

Good luck with your new year 'adventure' and look forward to hearing about your new job soon. :D

 

Peggy

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Nothing to add really but well done for taking control. You are doing a fantastic job- it is really hard to be the only FS teacher in a school, let alone having a FS/Y1 mix and an unco-operative TA. Lots of hugs and hoping that this term goes reasonably well for you.

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hello this is the first time I replied but I really felt for the lady with mixed Year group. Only words of wisdom from me is use your TA in the morning to team teach I did this last year with my teacher and it worked each day we choose a year group to work with with set objectives in the afternoon she contentrated on a more relaxed curriculum art, dt, etc.. lots of activities outside. Relations with TA's can be hard but I would ignore afternoon TA behaviour. I am now a deputy in a pre-school and relations between myself and my supervisor has been extremely unsettling... questioning my qulifications 6 months after she interviewed me I have nearly finished foundation degree in childhood studies at winchester... then wanted 12 weeks notice... it just goes on .. but the staff are fsantastic and I love working with the little ones .. trying to get my head around the planning but feel as though I am getting there ...

Hope you sort things out soon... and I hope I have done this ok :)

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hi t surman and welcome!

 

Hope you will continue to feel good about your decision Lisa. Good luck with the job hunt, I would suggest that you investigate supply too in case you dont see anything for Easter. It seems to take some agencies, LEAs ages to get you on supply lists.

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hello this is the first time I replied but I really felt for the lady with mixed Year group. Only words of wisdom from me is use your TA in the morning to team teach I did this last year with my teacher and it worked each day we choose a year group to work with with set objectives in the afternoon she contentrated on a more relaxed curriculum art, dt, etc.. lots of activities outside. Relations with TA's can be hard but I would ignore afternoon TA behaviour. I am now a deputy in a pre-school and relations between myself and my supervisor has been extremely unsettling... questioning my qulifications 6 months after she interviewed me I have nearly finished foundation degree in childhood studies at winchester... then wanted 12 weeks notice... it just goes on .. but the staff are fsantastic and I love working with the little ones .. trying to get my head around the planning but feel as though I am getting there ...

Hope you sort things out soon... and I hope I have done this ok :)

 

 

pleased to meet you t.surman and welcome to the forum :D

 

Your fist post, you have done ok :D

Good luck with the completion of your degree and look forward to hearing more words of advice in the future. :D

 

Peggy

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Thanks t.surman and welcome to the forum!

I am still finding my way around too as haven't been joined long but the more posts I do the better and easier it gets. Such a good support network.

 

Great advice thank-you and keep going with your planning etc I bet you're doing a wonderful job.

 

I have seen a job I am interested in today and it is only 5 minutes around the corner. Seems perfect so far can't wait to get my application pack! very exciting

 

x

 

:):)

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Oh also forgot to say that i got straight onto supply agencies today so all is in hand should be sorted no problems just in case I don't find anything. There are so many all seemed very nice think I gave 4 all my details. Thanks Susan.

This time I am certainly holding out for the right position for me!

This term is going to be good one anyway I can sense it now. I won't let me TA get me down!

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