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Celebrating being at school

"It was my birthday on my first day back after Christmas. Everyone felt sorry for me, but actually I felt happy to be at school," says Chris Ferne (above). "Birthdays are about celebrating, so seeing all my colleagues after a two-week break was a strong reminder to me of what my hard work in the first term had allowed me to achieve."

Even though Chris thought his PGCE prepared him well for teaching, he says:

"Last term was like learning to swim in a deep, cold swimming pool, having to move my arms in a certain way and my legs in another. I just concentrated on keeping afloat and breathing. I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of demands from all angles: classes, form group, department deadlines, school standards, and parents."

Now that he's into the second term things are much better. "I'm in a routine, relaxing a bit and feeling at home at school. I'm getting used to managing myself, but a lot of school procedures, like checking the staff daily bulletin, I do without having to remind myself. This allows me to concentrate on more essential issues, such as organising materials efficiently or ensuring that I have time to eat at break so that I don't run out of steam in the afternoon."

Chris Ferne teaches art at Blackfen school for girls, in Bexley, Kent

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