The Not-So-Secret Diary of a Deputy Principal
My name is Lorraine and I run the social media pages All Things Primary! I am a mum of 2 and 2 fur babies, deputy principal, a keen gardener, white wine and book loving red head! I set the page up, initially as Infant Teaching Ideas, when I was missing school while on maternity leave and wanted to keep track of nice ideas I was finding! That was 7 years ago and, while a lot has changed, my love for finding and sharing nice ideas to use in the classroom has only grown!
My alarm goes off…
On school days only! I don’t like to get up early at weekends, although my kids think differently about that! It drives me mental when people set multiply snooze alarms – I’ve never set a snooze alarm in my life!
My typical day begins at around 7 – some days earlier, others later. If I can, I get to school very early and get set up for the day – putting out morning activities, making sure I have resources and activities for the day ready to go.
My Junior Infant kids come in at 9:10 and each day brings a new adventure, and lots of noise! I try for each day to be a fun and active day of learning for each of my kids, and some days are more successful than others. No day is perfect but I am content as long as I try my best. Currently, I am focusing much more time each day on the core subjects to try and build as much of the remote learning gap as I can. The subject time allocations have gone out the window and instead I am approaching each day, each plan, with a priority focused mind.
Psst… check out our blog-post on decision-making and priorities HERE.
I am responsible for…
a huge variety of things both in my capacity as a class teacher and deputy principal! From being attendance officer, well-being promoter and supply-orderer, to newsletter-maker, policy updater and all things in between! I work very closely with my Principal to try and ensure that we are delivering the best education possible in a safe and nurturing environment for all of our kiddies! I am always busy and no two days are the same!
The best part of my job is...
To be a part of a crucial stage of a child’s learning journey. I have a strong passion for early years education. I believe it is a critical learning stage where the foundations of all life’s learning takes place and it is vital for this foundation to be built correctly. Junior infants is a special year and the children grow and learn so much in a very short space of time. A lot of children come to Junior Infants not being able to read and write and, thankfully, most of them leave to go to Senior Infants having acquired the basic skills in both processes. It is a magical journey and I am privileged to be part of it every year that I get the chance to be. That’s not saying that magic isn’t in other classes too, but the best magic, for me, is in infants! If I could teach Junior Infants every year for the rest of my career, I would be a very very happy teacher!
The most challenging part of my job is…
Trying to meet all the needs of all the children in my care. As one teacher needing to care for up to 30 children, who are all very different, it can be difficult to meet the needs of them all. In my current group, I have one outstanding Junior who can read and write at 1st class level and other children who are struggling with the first set of Jolly Phonic sounds. There are always children who struggle socially, emotionally, children with physical and intellectual needs, children with medical or dietary needs and that’s before we take into account the children’s own personal interests. How many balls are we juggling? I’ve lost count, and I am sure I have dropped a few too!
I am inspired by…
other teachers every day. My 5th class teacher was the teacher that inspired me to be a teacher and there’s so much about her I still remember so clearly, and it was many moons ago! I did my work experience with a good family friend in her junior infants’ class when I was in transition year and I still remember the things I learned during that time, and it confirmed that teaching was for me. The teachers in my school inspire me with their ideas, their passions and their enthusiasm every day. And the world of teachers on social media is filled with endless inspiration – you can be sure that you will never be stuck for a number of ideas for any topic you might want to teach after a search on Instagram or Pinterest.
I do try to remind myself, however, that all that glitters is not gold – as with everything in life, things aren’t always as they seem. It can be easy for the inspiration of other teachers to very quickly turn from inspiration to over whelming. What you see on your colleague’s fantastic notice board outside their room, is a very small snippet of a days or a week’s work. It doesn’t represent everything that goes on in a classroom. That teacher, who made a perfect display, has been tired, has had a lesson flop, has been at the end of a road and not known where to turn to. In fact, that teacher could be really really struggling at the minute and the only way they can keep control is to make that perfect display. What you see teachers posting on social media is, generally, their best display too! And that’s the nature of the game, it’s not people trying to play tricks on you! We are all in the same boat, when some days are better than others, some lessons better than others, and some are down right rubbish! Be kind to yourself, and be happy with your own efforts!
I would like to say I fill my afternoons, evenings and weekends with all sorts of wonderful things, but I don’t! It is something I need to get better at – switching off from work is not my strong point. I am definitely a workaholic and organising activities, resources and researching ideas and concepts is something I really enjoy. Of course, I do like other things too! During the spring and summer, you will find me working away in my garden, its one of my happy places. I am lucky to live beside the sea and enjoy going for walks along the coast, I enjoy reading when I get stuck into a good book, I love to travel to new places and see new things and I can’t wait to spend time with old friends and meet new ones when this pandemic is over!
The motto I live by…
To be helpful and kind. Always. It’s that simple. And it repays in ways you never expect it to.
I would recommend it to everyone!
A huge thank you to Lorraine for sharing her not-so-secret diary – we don’t often get principals sharing and we love it when we do!
There are so many lovely points made in this piece.
Would you like to share your diary or like to suggest a teacher, principal 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?