First Impressions and How They Can Make or Break Your Placement

Well going on to this placement I was so excited and positive. Then as the date drew nearer and my Nerves got the better of me I started to doubt my ability to work with children lower than reception class. I was expecting to go into a rising 3 year to 4 year class and created my uni assessment story sack for this age. However on getting to placement I was put in the nursery room and all of a sudden I panic!

Now looking at the situation in the other persons shoes as Gillie Bolton described in her reflective practice book…

Our new student, after all her emails, letters and phone calls, comes into our setting, punctual yet not exactly brimming with enthusiasm. Her correspondence although came across as organised, positive and excited for the opportunity did not match the anxious lady sat in front of me as I inform her that she is intact in the nursery room – a room I believe she did not think she was supposed to be in. I thought it would be a good idea to place the student in this room because she would get a good insight into the beginning stages of child development, however she seems less than impressed. She looks pale, worried and as though she may cry! What have I said?!

My view…
Sitting across from my placement mentor I am unsure what to say! After our correspondence I was led to believe I was in the other room with older children. What if my story sack can’t be adapted? I will fail my assignment.. And I am definitely not making a good impression here! I feel as though after all of my anxiety before here it has led me to come in with such negative energy and this is not me! I feel like I could cry!

Their view…
She is looking more worried and i ask her why she is looking anxious. she replies regarding her story sack and her assignment and yet she does not realise that the important facet of being a good teacher/practitioner is adaptability. being flexible is key and being able to take tasks and manipulate and adapt them to different ages and abilities is one of the most important tools a teacher can develop. i need to put this across to her and i hope she takes it as helpful rather than as me ‘having a go’. she seems to understand but Maybe there should have been an up date to her to let her know about the age change…Right well I will leave her to get settled with the children and see if maybe she will start to understand the reason behind my choice.

My view…
After our chat I feel so silly to have reacted in the way I did. I completely became too anxious with change and panicked .. This is something I need to work on. Flexibility at the moment is not my strongest quality as I have become so regimented from being in the for forces. I am so organised and plan everything and when things get changed last minute my mind blurs so that I cannot sea positive way out until I remove myself from the situation. However my placement tutor really did explain well about the differentiation and adaptability. Looking at my activities they will be absolutely fine and I am so much happier.

Their view of me..
First impressions through written correspondence did not match with first impression face to face and whether that was the anxiety of starting a new placement or if it was because we changed the age without letting her know I am unsure. She seems receptive to what I had to say though and she had a really good day. I popped in to see her at the end of the day and she seems to be getting on well. First impressions are so important but so is getting to know people and allowing them to feel comfortable within a situation.

My view of them..
After my first day I am so much more positive with the way it has gone and so much more confident with my abilities. It is so tiring working with nursery age children and I salute those who do it everyday. Using Boltons reflective model has allowed me to see how I may have been interpreted and I understand I may have come across as unflexible.. Something that I need to work on! 🙂
It has made me realise that first impressions are so important not to just the other people but to myself as well as I don’t like to make a bad impression.but I think that after a few days there I have made a good impression and they are so helpful with my course and are helping me to accommodate my story sack 🙂


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