Today I hit the ten month mark of my teaching career, and I officially qualified as a teacher.
If someone had sat me down in September and told me about the late nights, the early mornings, the endless paperwork, the constant criticism and self reflection, the self doubt, the physical and mental exhaustion, the lessons where everything – and I mean everything – goes wrong, the lack of time to do anything other than planning and marking, the moments of panic when a child comes to you with a problem you have no idea how to solve, the excruciating parents’ evenings when you realise you’ve been talking about the wrong Sophie for the last ten minutes…I would have gone back to my safe office job and never given teaching another thought.
So, I’m glad nobody sat me down and told me the truth. Because if they had, and I’d taken the easy way out, I would have missed the most amazing year of my life. It’s been incredibly difficult at times, and pushed me to the limits of my endurance, but it’s been completely worth every minute. Teaching is nothing like I expected. I thought it was going to be a halcyon world where I would never have a moments’ boredom again. Obviously, I was wrong. Marking was fun at first, but correcting misspellings of there and their gets tiring pretty quickly. The despair that sets in when you get to the seventh essay in your pile of 30 and realise that no one can actually spell Shakespeare and you might as well have been talking to yourself for the last term is crushing. And I certainly wouldn’t call inputting students’ targets into endless spreadsheets thrilling. Of course, as I should have realised, teaching has just as many annoyances as any other job. However, the rewards it offers are beyond anything sitting in an office ever gave me. I get to be part of hundreds of childrens’ lives every single day, and that is what has made this year so special. The conversations I have with my students make me laugh until I cry sometimes. They’re amazing. They make going to work fun. You can’t ask for anything better than that.
I’m not the best teacher in the world. I still have a lot of learning to do. But I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved in the last ten months, and I can’t believe how much I’ve learned, developed and changed in that time. It’s been quite the experience. And this is just the beginning!