There is light at the end of the teaching tunnel, promise

19th October 2018, 12:00am
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There is light at the end of the teaching tunnel, promise

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/there-light-end-teaching-tunnel-promise

Everyone knows that being a teacher is a tough job. However, there is a secret that I think we experienced teachers are keeping from our more recent colleagues, something that often goes unsaid but may be of comfort in the long and tiring run-up to the holidays. Here it is: after a while, teaching gets pretty easy.

I'm not saying that we experienced teachers don't work hard, but that the nature of the work changes. I remember that feeling of dread on a Sunday night, worrying about certain classes and particular students whose behaviour seemed unmanageable. That hasn't been the case for a number of years and now I sleep like a baby.

As well as behaviour management becoming easier, the actual teaching of the lessons does as well. I have now taught most aspects of geography dozens of times. I could turn up to a classroom with nothing but a board pen and a smile and teach a lesson comparing different types of plate boundaries without the need to prepare. During lessons, I will be making hundreds of tiny decisions automatically without needing to pause and consider because I have faced the same situation so many times before.

As time goes on, you also put yourself under less pressure. You realise that the job is too fast-paced to do everything perfectly and that done now is usually better than done right.

Teacher workload is a serious issue, and in some schools, the pressure is constantly increased and it feels like there is no let-up. However, I worry that if this is the only story that is ever told we risk putting off people new to teaching. As long as you can find a school where you are trusted to work as a professional, you will find that the teaching becomes easier, you will notice a decrease in workload and you will find that you can relax and go with the flow.

There is hope. Stick with it.

Mark Enser is head of geography and research lead at Heathfield Community College. His first book, Making Every Geography Lesson Count, is out soon with Crown

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