As you take up a position as a nursery teacher, you can expect your job to prove rich in both variety and rewards. Still, we wouldn’t pretend that the job also won’t bring more than its fair share of challenges. Preparing for those challenges can be key to handling your teaching work.

However, you can’t expect to prepare if you don’t have a good idea of what to expect. Here are just five things that you should especially strongly anticipate during your first year in the job.

Lots of questions swirling around your mind

Yes, teaching at any level can be confusing for anyone new to this kind of work. Perhaps other teachers will speak to you like you know more than you really do, The Guardian cautions.

However, in this situation, you should resist the temptation to pretend that, yes, all of those bewildering acronyms and pieces of jargon come easily to you. Instead, be honest about when you are confused; other teachers will recall feeling the same when they were new.

Some rough experiences… but also rewarding ones

Teaching can prove far from a walk in the park. If you don’t have children of your own, little ones misbehaving and testing your patience could somewhat banish lingering broodiness on your part. Parents, too, could prove trying to deal with – and even make you tearful.

However, you can more easily persist through the bad times if you remind yourself of the good ones – like parents or workmates giving compliments and children reacting positively to your teaching.

Workdays that include crucial time away from the kids

Naturally, a lot of your time will be spent working with children – aged, to be precise, from birth to five years old. However, your job will be more varied than even this…

As the UK Government’s National Careers Service website explains, you will also do preparatory work before class – for example, by preparing materials, planning and setting out activities, attending training courses, and discussing children’s development with parents and carers.

Daily work hours typically numbering up to eight

What will your working hours really be like? This will be influenced by where you work. While state-funded maintained settings will typically be limited to school hours and close for school holidays, private nurseries tend to offer extended hours.

As a general rule, you can expect to work for up to eight hours daily within the hours of roughly 7am to 6pm. Depending on the nursery, it might be open on Saturdays, too.

Misconceptions that your job is “just play”

In chatting to non-teaching friends about your new job, you could become frustrated at their tendency to express misguided beliefs that your nursery work is “just play”.

What do they mean by “just play”? That might be a question that buzzes around your own head, as Tes implies. Friends may not be wholly receptive to your arguments that children can build independence through nursery play, but simply shrug off this possibility if you are still perusing vacancies for nursery teaching jobs.



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