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I thought this job was for me. Throughout most of my teenage years, I would tell everyone that I met that I was on the road to becoming a primary educator. I chose my A Levels with the view of how they may help me to get onto a good teacher training course.
I did my degree in Education, thinking this would give me a good head start with the policies and history of education. I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I was to have been offered a place on a really well respected training provider. I think I may have even cried with happiness!
So where did it all go wrong?
My first week as a teacher I was full of excitement. The newness of everything kept my adrenaline going. Of course, at this point, I had hardly any work to do anyway. Everything was so easy! My class of 6 year olds in a small village school were all perfect. As the pressure and stress increased, I dealt with it well. However, about 3 months in the glitter started to fade and I broke my rose tinted glasses.
My teacher mentor began to give up. Not only did she give up on me, but unfortunately she had given up on teaching. She had lost her love for the job and left the profession a few months after I moved to my next placement. This left me in a position where I was having to support myself through my placement, and was not given the experiences I needed to be able to succeed in that part of my course. I was also left without any other adult for days at a time, a big no-no for trainee teachers, especially when our teaching timetables were only 30% anyway.
The stress started to take over and I was counting down days until it was over. I followed all of the online teaching forums which stated that I needed to make time for me everyday, stay late at school and bring no marking home. These things didn’t help.
I was stressed and unhappy and I couldn’t wait for it to be over.
Then it was over. I was moving on to another school, the ‘big’ placement. But I was moving to this school as a person who I was not. As a teacher who I was not. I was nervous, unhappy, unconfident and above all I was tired. Life as a trainee teacher is not put on hold during the holidays. Instead we get piled with an assignment that we know we should have started sooner. But we didn’t, so we sit inside typing words into a laptop, watching all the other students around you enjoying their holidays.
My new school is better. A class of 30, each child 9 or 10 years old. The school is big, yet each child matters. It has taken me such a long time to get to a point where I finally feel I can take an evening off and see friends, or I can get in front of a class of children and know that things may go wrong and that is ok. Teaching is an extremely hard job to do when you are a perfectionist, but I’m getting there.
Here is the million dollar question…is teaching for me? I don’t know. I honestly don’t think it is. I cannot see myself doing this job for the rest of my life. I see how happy it makes other teachers but I don’t feel that. I really wish I did, but I don’t. It can honestly be the most rewarding job on this planet. When a child looks up at you with that twinkle in their eye, and you know they have just understood a big concept. Or the pride on their faces when they have completed an extra challenge or a piece of artwork. It is priceless. But these moments are the tips of the iceberg. Just look underneath the water level and you see a red flag. It is drowning.