Half term blog by School Direct trainee, Dan

As the festive season draws nearer, the realisation that my first placement is drawing to an end starts to dawn on me. The feeling it creates is hard to explain…but I’ll give it a go.

Looking back at my first day at Elmridge, where the welcome was so warm and positive, and having that same feeling now when I come into school three months later, is something that I will always be thankful for. The ‘never stop improving’ ethos and ‘always embrace the challenge’ mindset, has allowed for me to develop in such a way, that I do feel like I have been given the best opportunity to grow as a trainee teacher. Without the support from teaching staff, the senior leadership team, and of course my mentor, who has really taken me under her wing, it would have been a completely different experience.

This second half term has seen the amount of teaching ramp up to 70%, a task daunting at first (How will I find the time to plan? I hope the children enjoy the lessons! Fractions for two weeks?!), but offers the chance to have that ‘Eureka!’ moment. The moment where you think ‘I’ve got this!’, the moment where you see that piece of work and go ‘this is why I chose teaching’, the moment where you just think ‘how on earth did I manage to get all of that done?’. The last moment came to me towards the end of this half term as I finished off my final pieces of work with my year 5 class. To see how far they’ve come and have the chance to mark a piece of work that is the final result of all their hard work, was the moment I had been waiting for. The unique approaches and ideas that each pupil had, made marking their work a fantastic way to bring an end to my placement at Elmridge…that and the Christmas movies show the children are putting on!

From fractions tests, to dancing snowmen choreography, the festive period is in full swing now. Having ‘Oh Holy Night’, ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’, and what seems like one hundred other Christmas songs, on repeat in my mind, and year 5’s, every day for the past two weeks has been the norm, but it just adds to the excitement around the school and the buzz of the class. An excitement I will take through with me into my placement B, and whilst I am excited to move on, I will definitely miss Elmridge, and I already look forward to coming back in May…hopefully this time without ‘You’re a mean one Mr Grinch’ stuck in my head.

So, to explain how it feels to finish this placement, say goodbye to my class for now, and think about the challenges ahead, I’d have to go for a mixture of happy, sad, excited, and most of all, proud.

Watch Dan and his class in the Twelve Days of Christmas video

See the report written for Dan by his pupils on his final day