MY AP Interview
Hello lovely humans,
I hope you're all keeping well as we head towards the end of the school year! I have been meaning to write this for some time but life & school has been crazy.
I am just going to quickly run through my experience of the AP one application and interview process.
So the job was advertised and I knew immediately I wanted to apply for it as I know I'd like to go down the leadership route. I filled out the application form and left it till very last minute as I didn't actually realise how much was involved in the application. Looking back I managed it well but I definitely should have given more time to allow others to read it just in case of any errors.
I had one final read and submitted the application on the morning of application deadline. After submitting I heard back that day that they received my application and then two days later I received word of an interview offer for the following week. I went to my principal and asked that my classes be covered and he was extremely supportive.
I immediately got in touch with Kenneth from Education Interview Hub and he organised a meeting with Jennifer. This mock interview was the biggest help to me and honestly made me so confident. Jennifer put me at ease and gave me advice on my answers and really pushed me to be the best I could be. Her advice and wealth of knowledge was absolutely priceless and I don't know how I would have managed without it. Before meeting with Jennifer I had researched AP interview questions and asked friends in leadership about the interview and what could be asked so `I had some prep done.
After meeting with Jennifer she sent me on a recording of my mock interview so I was able to sit down and analyse it and go back over and tidy up some of the answers I had given. On the morning of the interview I practiced asking myself difficult questions and answered them whilst driving to the interview to get me in the zone. Once parked outside (30 mins early) I took out my summarised notes to go over and ran over some of my examples/ scenarios that I had intended to use that showed my leadership skills.
In the interview I actually felt calm immediately - in my head I told myself to just breathe and all the work I had done would stand to me and to give it my best. To be honest I felt like I started to answer well but then at some points throughout the interview I found myself losing focus and structure in my answers and just had to ask for the question to be repeated again. I honestly was proud of how I did in my first AP interview but I know that I have work to do to be the best.
As you would have seen I was unsuccessful. I don't mind saying this as it was my first interview and I still felt I put my best foot forward and it was an AMAZING learning experience. Personally I suffered a lot with change in the past year and would become nervous and anxious about things that never bothered me before, but for this interview I was CALM. This was a huge win for me as I know now that I am back to who I was before having Wesley (not in a bad way - more so a strong mental health way) and that the pregnancy hormones which played a huge role in making me anxious were finally gone!
I came 2nd out of 4 on the interview panel and I am thrilled for who got it as I feel it was well deserved. I have more clarity on what I can do better next time and there definitely will be a next time!
Hello lovely humans,
Just dropping in to share some ways in which you can build relationships with your students.
You don't have to do all of these but I have shared various ways as not everyday will work with every teacher or every class!
I would love to know if any of these work for you, please be sure to let me know what worked and didn't work for you!
Hello lovely humans,
I promised this blog sooooooooo long ago but life has been so hectic with moving, mom life, etc.
I'm gonna jump straight to it! We found out on the Wednesday that we would have an incidental inspection on Friday in school - frantically everybody starting planning and panicking. I (for the first time in my life) remained calm - I knew I was prepared because I decided this year I was getting on top of paperwork so that I wouldn't panic and stress in situations like this - plus I wouldn't have time to get my sh*t together in 2 nights having a baby!
All of my plans were in digital format and if they were needed I could show them that way - I didn't print them. Our subject dept info I had digitally & it is also in the staffroom. I did have to try and get the German one up to date as we just had a general MFL one and I thought it would be best to German specific info if it were needed.
I had my weekly personal plan in my planner which I have printed in a folder and I use this to keep me on track weekly anyways! I knew I was over prepared and also felt confident that they weren't going to be looking at plans and they wanted to see teaching - that is what these inspections are for. I DID NOT change my lessons or plan anything extra or fancy just because an inspector was coming.
I found out 5 mins before class started that the inspector was coming to me, I was actually buzzing because I wanted to have someone watch my teaching - I wanted to know how I was getting on! The bell rang and my 5th years arrived into class - I told them the inspector would be joining us, they actually started panicking lol! The inspector arrived over and introduced himself - he was so lovely and explained to the class he was there just to have a look at what we were doing and to ignore him.
My class content:
The inspector took note of some programmes I used:
At the end I was given feedback and asked about Child Protection.
Overall I was so so happy with how the inspection went - the feedback was amazing! I asked if there was anything that I could improve on and I was told if they had to really nitpick at me then they would say the group work between students but said that it was minor because of the type of lesson. Honestly it was not half as bad as inspections that I did through college and I would do it again tomorrow if given the chance.
More info on inspections here: https://assets.gov.ie/25258/e2f3707cfb3448db8cb0752613d031bd.pdf
How can you have an inspection like this?
PS Happy 2022!
Hello lovely humans,
It has been wayyyyy too long!!!! I had intended to post her more often but it is crazyyyy at the moment to find time for this.
Just checking in with you all to let you know how mom and teacher life is working out for me. Well... I think it's great! Going back to school wasn't hard for me as I felt like it was the right time for me to get back into a routine (I need routine for my head) and also Wesley was at a good age where he was a happy baby and didn't get strange or upset when spending time away from me.
Before going back to school I did send Wesley a couple of times to the child minder so he would be used to going there when I would go back to school. Why did I go with a child minder you might ask?.. The creche I had intended to send Wesley to wouldn't take him until he was 1 unfortunately but now looking back I am thrilled that it worked out this way as he goes to the best child minder (Not immediate family member). He is so well looked after and honestly my mind is at ease leaving him in great hands - he loves it too!
On the first week back my mom came over in the mornings to make sure I could manage getting out the door on time - I was nervous about this in the lead up to it. I didn't know would I manage as I used to be a 'roll out of bed and into the car' person. I never get up earlier than I need and also I like to get up and out the door in the least amount of time possible!
In week 2 I had my morning and night time routine in full flow and since then I feel like it has been a breeze (I know this doesn't happen for everyone). I'll give you an insight into how my night and morning goes to get out the door in 30 mins!
Get bottles & food for Wesley ready
Pack Wesley's bag & put in car
Pack my school bag
Get my clothes ready
Get my lunch ready
7am: Alarm goes off
7am - 7:20am: Dress myself, change Wesley's nappy (He stays in PJs and is fed at child minders), have a look at my phone
7:20am - 7:30am: Put fridge stuff into lunch bags, Make coffee (essential), put all bags into car, put dressing gown on Wesley, put Wesley into the car and leave.
*I might add that I am on my own with Wesley in the morning but his dad is there for the night time routine and does help a huge amount in making my life easier. He washes the bottles - I hateeeee this lol
These routines rarely change - but I can tell you if I don't follow the routine these times run a few minutes later (I do have plenty of time to spare but I would rather not be rushing)
Saying goodbye to Wesley in the mornings wasn't as bad or as hard as many told me it would be - but I think that knowing he is happy and in good hands is something I have really told myself to make it easier. He waves goodbye now and it melts my heart!
During the day I do think of him and miss him - but that's only when I have time to think, which is rare unfortunately with my busy timetable! I do have early finishes on Tuesdays and Fridays which is really nice and I appreciate the time we have at the weekend together. I try to avoid bringing home any school work in the evenings or at weekends and only do this work when in school or if the boys are watching a match (I'm not a football fan). I have definitely become so efficient and smart with my time... which is a whole other blog post which I will do soon! But for now...
PME & work - Is it possible?
Long time no write... life has been crazy busy!
Before I get started, this is not me boasting or trying to make you feel bad. You must do what you can manage, I'm just letting you know what I managed when doing the PME & working. I often get asked can you manage work and the PME and the answer is definitely YES, you just need to find a balance that suits you.
I have worked since my Leaving Cert (Dec before the LC was when I started). I worked every weekend unless I booked off time. When I started college my normal weekend shift was Saturday 3pm - 3am (ish) and Sunday 12 - 10pm. I used to then drive to Cork at 10pm on a Sunday when I finished work to be in college for Monday morning! My mother always said "I'll pay for college but I'm not funding your social life". I had a car to run, a phone bill to pay and obviously my college nights out so giving up work during college was not an option.
When I started the PME I continued my weekend work like I did during my undergrad. It wasn't easy and I had to be good with my time BUT it was possible. In PME 2 I even took on another job during the week days towards the end of the year.
You might ask did I just work, teach and go to college? No I also danced, had fun with friends, went on nights out, went on holidays - life was not shit! How did I manage to do all of this??? I did it and didn't spend time wondering how I would do it all.
A typical week during PME 2:
Monday - college & dance in the evening & Monday Club after dance!
Tuesday - school & work in the evening
Wednesday - school & maybe work in the evening
Thursday - school & work in the evening
Friday - school, drive home, time with friends
Saturday - dancing & work
Sunday - gave grinds, work & drive to Cork
I had time between the places I had to be, so in that time I had to do college work and placement work and be as efficient as I possibly could. Distractions had to be minimised and I had to really priortise what I had to do immediately! During the school day when I had free classes I would plan my lessons and sort my resources. I aimed to do my school related/ placement related work in school and my college related work (assignments) at home/ in college.
I used to promise myself treats to work harder - for example "Right Nicole you can't go to Monday Club unless you get this 1000 word section of your assignment done". Sounds hilarious & mad? You're right! But it worked! I didn't spend half as much time on social media as I do now and I also was really good at ploughing through work and keeping focused. I made a list and made my way through it ticking it off as I went.
Now remember I'm not saying you have to do what I did but it is definitely possible to have a part time job (even if it is just a Saturday) on the side while doing PME. Best of luck to any PME's starting, I hope you get on well and remember ASK FOR HELP when you need it. It's not a sign of weakness!
Until next time (hopefully not as long)
The dreaded staffroom entrance
Why do we dread the new staffroom so much? We're not teenagers anymore...
I suppose that fear of knowing nobody or being on our own never fully leaves us. Some are better able to handle it than others. A lot of the time the principal will walk you into the staffroom introduce you to 1 or 2 people and then leave you be. So it's up to you then to figure your way around the staffroom.
Some staffrooms have a 'sit wherever you want' approach others have 'assigned seats' - I HATE THIS! Not actually assigned by the principal but they assign themselves to a seating arrangement and never change. There is nothing worse than sitting in someones else seat... as if their name is on it! Ridiculous if you ask me! I have been in staffrooms like this - don't fret about it just pull in a chair if one isn't available - you'll soon find a place to sit permanently.
It can be very daunting as a newbie entering the staffroom so my advice is:
I'm writing this post to highlight how daunting it can be entering a new staffroom in the hope that anyone reading this will look out for the newcomers in the future.
Some tips for current staff members welcoming a new team member:
It's a great idea to have a social committee or wellbeing committee to organise events for staff members at the start of the year - this helps to welcome everyone back and also helps the new staff members to meet the staff and settle in.
Ideas for events:
Bowling - highly recommend!
Tea/ Coffee Morning
Hope you enjoyed the read and will help a newbie out this coming August!
why did i start blogging?
Hope everyone enjoyed the last post!
The why behind starting these blog posts...
Really I just wanted to actually just start writing my thoughts/ experiences and share them with you. I just think that this is a better way to share longer pieces of information and also I can link things/ resources/ ideas much easier into my blogs as I talk about them.
Writing is something that I used to hate in school - hated English as a subject but really enjoyed the class (friends, teacher, overall banter). But English and writing to sound 'good' was never my thing. I do like the idea of blogging here because I can be myself and if someone isn't happy with the way I write I don't care, ha lol xox
But honestly I'm just excited to start this and I've got loads planned and I'm hoping that one person gets something from it. Not looking to please the world with these!
It's something new, something out of my comfort zone and a goal that I had for 2021 - so here's to 'The Mind of Múinteoir Cole'
So for now,
the long commute ain't so bad
Firstly welcome to my blog! AHHHHHHH can't believe I'm saying that. This post will be written as I would speak so keep your grammar rules to yourself. Thanks xox
I was inspired to write this after discussing on my instagram story about how the long commute used to be so beneficial to me! I was actually far more organised and productive when I had to drive 1 hour to school (work).
I suppose you're wondering... How? That's what I'm here to share!
Firstly let me just say that you should concentrate on the road while driving and if thinking/ planning in your head will distract you from that then do NOT take your mind off the road. I am also not telling you to do what I have done - I'm just sharing what worked for me.
How I used my time productively on my journey to school:
How I used my time productively on my journey home:
It's pretty much the same as above but depending on how my day went I may have had a different journey home.
All of the above meant that I didn't spend as much time when it came to the written part of the above - planning lessons, making resources, typing out tests, etc. Also the fact that I spent 2 hours of my day driving meant that I was really productive and organised so that I had time to myself. I got my shit together!!!
I was on a 22 hour contract but I did have a few free classes. Every Friday, I planned my for the following week in one 40 minute class that I was off for. Yes I did just say that ONE 40 MINUTE CLASS OF PLANNING. I also had another free class later that day where I organised my resources for those lessons - again I spent one 40 minute class on this. On a Thursday I had a class where I corrected any work I needed to. I checked students' copies during class time and I also did the majority of corrections in class time, especially homework corrections.
I know it sounds crazy but I spent less time doing 'school stuff' that year than I have any other year - it was my first year out - I didn't have a big bank of resources, lessons, etc. But what I did have was a long drive that made the above easier.
So on a final note please don't be put off a school because it's 'too far' - maybe 2 hours each way is too far but an hour is definitely doable! When I move house I'll be commuting 1 hour 15 mins and I honestly can't wait to be that productive and organised again!
Thanks for reading if you got this far ya legend!
This is a space for me to share what's on my mind - teaching and life related. Expect nothing fancy or well composed just the real life Múinteoir Cole