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The First Day

06/07/16

After making the big move from London to Birmingham for an opportunity she hoped would get her on the path to become a teacher, was it the job Jenny thought it to be? Had she made the right decision?

Looking back now, I laugh to think that my biggest concern when I woke up was about what I would wear that day...

Under the impression that I would be working with a 'mildly autistic early years class', you can imagine my delight when I arrived on my first day to discover I would be working with 'severely autistic children, aged between eight and eleven...'

Having lived in London for six years, I hadn't banked on the idea that all my travel would be on time. Fortunately I had arrived at the school almost forty-five minutes early. As I was handed personal profiles for each child in the older base class, the same sentence stuck out like a big, red beacon.

'I really do not like new teachers in my classroom.'

All my experience is with Early-Years. We're talking birth to four years old. Tiny little children. Never mind the autism. What was I supposed to do with a class of older boys who don't like meeting new teachers!?

I excused myself and regrouped in the bathroom. I'm ashamed to say I had to work to keep the bile down. I was scared. There was no one to go to for help - I simply had to make it work. I reminded myself how far I had travelled, how little opportunity I'd been given and vowed to at least get through the day. I grabbed the profiles, sat on the back unit and waited non-chalantly for the class to arrive.

From my perch I could asses each child and listen to their morning conversations. The kids were a lot friendlier in person than they came across on paper. I slid stealthily from my sniper position and joined in with their motor skills activity. Eventually, I realised that the conversation was all about video games. I thanked the heavens for being blessed with a younger brother and talked with confidence about Call of Duty and MineCraft.

The rest of the day was a blur. I played maths and english games with individuals in the class, met the younger SEN children on the playground and learned the hard way that I'm rubbish at Dodgeball. I witnessed a few temper meltdowns, but it was nothing I hadn't seen from Nannying a two-year-old. (At least these kids were old enough to take themselves away to the dark den!)

When the day ended I was presented with the question:

'So. Coming back tomorrow?'

From the looks on their faces, I don't think anyone expected my reply:

'Yes please! If you'll have me!'


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