I was starting a grade 7 LTO in 3 days (covering a maternity leave) . I was nervous. I have been teaching for over 20 years as a permanent and Substitute Teacher. This was my 9th LTO and still I was nervous. Would I be too strict or too easy? Would I teach to their level and help them improve? Would I know what to do? Here are some things I have learned over the years about taking over someone else’s class.
- It’s normal to be nervous.
- No matter how much or how little I do to prepare, I never feel prepared.
- I will be a bit overwhelmed the first week no matter what.
- It’s best to set a time limit to how much I will work or I will not give myself enough time to rest and relax and it will affect my health.
- It takes time to get into a rhythm with the class, so I give myself and the students time.
- I expect it to get more difficult after a couple of weeks, when the honeymoon is over and the students are testing my boundaries.
- Often other teachers will be a great help, giving me materials, unit plans, lesson plans and as much help as possible. Sometimes, they will not.
- Reading the student records as soon as possible is important – I want to know if someone has a severe allergy or a parent who is denied access to them.
- Don’t complain too much about the class or the classroom or the teacher who left at school – even if encouraged – as this reduces chances of being asked to do another LTO. Complain at home or to friends.
- Repeat to myself, “It will be ok.” Because, it will be ok. It may take some time but it will be ok – and better than that, it will be great! I’ll find my footing, the class will become mine and we will have fun learning together.