I had an amazing experience during the Christmas break. Working at one of the Crisis Open Christmas Centres for the homeless was interesting, enjoyable and worthwhile. Not only did the guests defy all stereotypes, but the other volunteers were fantastic people who seemed to bond straight away. Why am I telling you this?
It's because I was struck by how many of the volunteers were teachers and that got me thinking about how this profession we are in is full of some really great people. I wish there was research evidence that I could draw on to test my hypothesis that teachers are by and large more sparky and fun than many other occupational groups. The unifying characteristic seems to be a social conscience. People don't come into teaching for the money or even the holidays (nice though they are) but because they want to make a difference. They really do care. And this is what makes them so lovely.
You would have thought there'd never be anyone lonely in a school. But teaching can be a very isolating job, because by and large you're flying solo in the classroom.
Even if you can't find a chum at your school, there are plenty of people to talk to at The TES online community. An amazing 380,000-plus belong to it and each day more than 7,000 messages are posted. So if you want a chat, there are heaps of fab people around day and night. Let me tell you about one absolute cracker who's been a fantastic friend to hundreds of people.
The poster whose username was ElaineC was a regular "tesser" since the early days of the website until she lost the battle against cancer last term. She always seemed to say the right thing. I remember her cheering up someone who'd burst into tears in front of a class by saying: "If even some of them have apologised then you're doing more than a good job". Have a read of some of the 6,900 messages on the thread called "Just no end to it" and see how people she'd never met rallied round her.
Sara Bubb is an educational consultant specialising in induction. Her Successful Induction for New Teachers is on sale now.