Congratulations, you have finally graduated college, yet there is still one obstacle left to overcome before you can be officially recognised as a Fully Qualified Primary School Teacher in Ireland, or any where else in the world for that matter. That my friends is the dreaded DIP.
Now, I will not lie, once you lock down that sub-mat leave or fixed term contract, you need to be ready for the most challenging 100 days of your professional career.
Is it do-able? Totally!
Can you smash it? Most definitely!!
Will it take every ounce of energy you have? Oh hell yes!!!
What I will say though, is that it is completely achievable once you give yourself the time you need to prepare, and are willing to put the effort in.
Hitting the gym, going for a walks or continuing with a favourite hobby throughout the dip will be essential to help keep your mind fresh and you life balanced.
So where do you begin?
Step 1: Contact Limerick Education Centre
Once you have secured your position within a school, you need to go straight here to download and complete the OP1 Form. This form is very straight forward. Once filled in and submitted you should hear back from Jenny within days and voila, the process has begun.
Step 2: Organisation is Key!
The ball is now rolling and your inspector has been appointed. What next?
Most schools will have a teacher appointed to mentor you throughout your DIP. They are there to guide you in relation to the schools policies and what to expect from the inspector, or most importantly, what he/she will expect from you. Most likely your mentor will be familiar with your inspector, so take heed of any notes they might have for you.
Tip: You will need 2 large A4 Binders. I would suggest getting two different colours. One for your planning and the other for your Assessments. This will make it easy, not only for you to distinguish between the two, but also for your inspector. I have written a separate post on how to organize both folders, which will be posted within the next week. Don’t worry, I got ya!
N.B In relation to your planning NIPT will expect you to use their template for both Long-Term plans ( 1 plan for 6 months or 2 plans per term) you can download the template here, and Short-Term Plans (1 plan per each lesson), download the template here. You will also find your weekly reflection sheets in the same place.
N.B. Make sure you read through the guidelines and have a look at the examples they provide you. Do this and you can’t go wrong. You are allowed to use the schools personal template for your cúntas míosúil, and remember to make two copies of your long-term plan and cúntas míosúil, as you will need to hand in one to the school for their whole school planning folders.
I have uploaded an example of my plans in my store should you wish to see what a completed plan looks like.
Step 3: Classroom
One compliment I remember getting from my inspector was that he liked how my classroom displays were created and designed to enhance the children’s learning, and that they were not created simply as a decoration. Each display had a purpose, and enforced the weeks lessons. During the lessons he observed, I ensured to refer to each display that complimented the theme for that week.
For maths, I created a working maths wall, where the children would work on their tasks at hand, but could move from their seat and refer back to information on the wall, if they needed it. We also spent five minutes each day, answering questions I had placed on the wall, re-enforcing the strand for that week, and repeating what they had learned.
During an Irish lesson, our theme was An Aimsir, and I had created a display where by the children would have to change the weather forecast each morning, with interchangeable weather tabs that could be removed and attached with velcro. When writing their sentences for that day, they were allowed to take these tabs from the display and bring them to their desks, thus using them as a concrete materials.
My simple advice for creating your displays is to make sure they are there for a reason and as well as having necessary information up there, make sure to include some questions. This will make your display interactive and will get your children thinking.
Personal Note: I believe that if you give 110% into what you can control, for example the layout and organization of your folders, keeping on top of the corrections, and the layout of your classroom and displays, there would be very little that can go wrong for you when the inspector arrives. Being confident in your own abilities as a teacher, the relationship you build with your students and staying positive will help you ace your inspections.
I wish you the very best with your dip, and hope that I have helped to ease any worries you might have had regarding starting the dip process.
Good Luck and Happy Teaching!