The Not-So-Secret Diary of a Teacher
Hello. My name is Emma, and I am a primary school teacher based in Co. Cork. I completed my BA in Early Years and Childhood Studies in 2016 before graduating with a PME degree at St. Patrick’s College, DCU in 2018. Since then, I have primarily worked in Special Education. This year I am a mainstream Senior Infant teacher. I set up my Instagram @set_classroom last June and it has helped to keep my mind occupied during the pandemic. Since then, I have been sharing my journey from Special Education into the mainstream classroom.
My alarm goes off…
At 7am every morning and I get up and dress my bed. First achievement of the day! I get myself sorted, have breakfast and I am on the road at 7.50am. I have a 40-minute drive and like to get going before the traffic. I usually get to work at 8.30am.
I drink my tea while working at my desk.
The kids then start arriving at 9.10am.
I am responsible for…
Sixteen wonderful senior infant boys and girls. I am so very lucky to have a small class as we can do so much, and it is easier to spread my time among the different groups.
I usually get involved in school initiatives like Amber Flag, Debating Club or Comhairle Spraoi.
Due to the pandemic this hasn’t been possible this year but I’m enjoying my teaching and the experience of having my own class.
My typical day…
We are on staggered times this year so children start arriving from 9.10-9.20am. We have our routine down in the mornings. We start with fine motor or handwriting, then it is time for phonics. After phonics I have been doing Gaeilge. We are spending a lot of time at the moment revising the key vocabulary. Then it is time for yard and for me to grab a cup of tea! We come in and eat (while watching a little Mr. Bean) and then straight into Aistear. I will observe throughout this time and engage when the children want me to. After that it is time for maths but not before we get a Go Noodle in. We have a lot of favourites, but I think the top two are ‘Saved by the Bell’ and ‘I’m Still Standing’.
Bell rings at 12.30pm for yard and they are out for 30 minutes. When we come back in, we have 10 minutes eating time. After this it depends on the day. We could be doing P.E., SESE, Religion, SPHE, Music etc. We end everyday with a story and we are currently reading a personal favourite ‘The Day the Crayons Quit’. Then off home they go at 2pm and I get myself ready for the next day, do my corrections, get morning activities ready and anything else that needs to be done.
The best part of my job…
I am really enjoying having a class this year and what is even better is that I have an infant class. Playful learning is a core element that is integrated throughout our day. I really enjoy the playful learning elements in the day and Aistear is something I am really enjoying. I love how I can interchange curricular subjects and plan thematically. There are endless opportunities through thematic planning and in allowing it to be child-led I never know which way it is going to go.
We are currently learning about the garden centre and it is amazing to observe the children throughout this. They all have different interpretations of a garden centre but there is never a wrong one. The cross-curricular elements are endless, and I have been able to plan all other subject areas using this theme. We are learning about spatial awareness in maths, planting and our locality for SESE and an aimsir for Gaeilge.
It makes it so much easier to plan and so enjoyable to teach.
The most challenging part of my job is…
I feel like there is a constant struggle and the pandemic makes it all much harder. There are so many lovely opportunities for learning and coming into spring the opportunities grow. I love taking learning outdoors but sometimes feel tied to what I need to get done.
Why do we all put so much pressure on ourselves to get books complete?
I think there is much more value in embracing learning experiences. We need to make this work for the children in the class and stop worrying about completing the book work.
I am inspired by…
Would it be cheesy to say my family and friends?
I surround myself with people who build me up, who support me and inspire me.
I am also inspired by the progress I see when working with children. I can recall so many little moments of joy while working in SET that just made everything, I was doing feel so worthwhile.
I had one student who had a range of needs but never let it stop her. She was as happy as could be and the progress over the year I worked with was so special.
Throughout the last number of years, I have worked with a little boy for July Provision, and it amazes me how his language has developed.
These are the things reasons why I am a teacher.
I could be found under a blanket on the couch or out and about taking in the fresh air.
Before this lockdown I was meeting my friend once a week for a walk after work but that has not been possible now. I do meet my partner who lives close to the school for walks after work and then I have the 40-minute drive home. I get home and get changed.
I am all about comfort.
I try to keep schoolwork in school during the week, so once I leave, everything can wait until the following day.
The motto I live by…
“Have courage. Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
A huge thank you to Emma for sharing her not-so-secret diary!
Would you like to share your diary or like to suggest a teacher or education professional whose diary you would like to read?!
Contact us at email@example.com to nominate yourself or someone else – ah go on!
NQT Picnic is a specially designed online event for NQT’s in July 2022.
It is a daunting experience starting your very first teaching position – whether it is subbing or your own post! College seems like a long time ago now and you may be starting to feel a tad nervous.
Following the huge success of NQT Fest & Picnic in 2021, we are delighted to share this special event for NQT’s in July 2022 with you!
Free Resource for Teachers – End of School Year Activities!
What an exciting time of the year! Your main lessons and topics are complete and the pupils are getting excited for their summer holidays. It can be a challenging time to keep pupils engaged in classroom lessons due to exciting events on the horizon like school tours or sports days, so I like to keep things light and fun and still try to ensure the learning is taking place.
Ciara McGuane is the Summer Course Director for Rahoo.ie.
Her career highlights include being filmed by BBC London teaching in the classroom and guest-lecturing at the Institute of Education in London. She has worked as a teacher, school leader, teacher trainer and initial teacher training tutor prior to setting up Rahoo.
This is always a hot topic for teachers and so important to get it right.
Here are some mistakes that teachers have shared with us when they did our EPV Summer Course on Classroom Management with Niamh Byrne, Irish Primary Teacher.
We have dipped in and out of the CPD course to learn what to do instead!
Why do we remember the words of lyrics we haven’t heard in years? Why do some experiences stick in our heads more than others? Something made them memorable!
Make your lessons stick by trying to make some aspect of it different. This could be as simple as playing music (we have played classical music when students were working independently in the past) or hooking them into the lesson with mystery tasks or controversial questions that spark debate.
When planning ask yourself: What can I do to make this lesson memorable?