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First encounters

New teacher Gemma Warren shares her New Year's resolution list

1 Try to convince myself I have spent the past two weeks productively aiding my professional development, and did not pass out in front of my best friend's Christmas tree.

2 Stop feeling guilty about everything. Failing that, try at least to look at the EU exercise book mountain on my desk.

3 Stop inviting friends round for "marking parties". ("Just put in a couple of red ticks and write an encouraging remark at the end. It's easy. And fun. Where's your social conscience? You don't get this at the pub, you know.") 4 Do my bit for the environment. Abolish written work.

5 Try to write a scheme of work for Hamlet rather than just plonking 30 kids in front of a video and telling them to initiate their own learning.

6 Read Hamlet.

7 Buy a whole load of impressive-sounding educational theory books and arrange them on my desk in the staffroom. Hide "Twenty Easy Ways to Control Your Class", and "Bluff Your Way Through English Literature".

8 Contact Diet Coke about that sponsorship deal.

9 Don't spend every night on the phone boring my friends with cute stories about my Year 7s. They do not find them interesting. This also applies to WAR 10 (my form) stories. And Years 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 for that matter.

10 Stop relying on horoscopes to determine my teaching strategies.

11 Don't use the national curriculum for teaching ideas either. (Oh, that's what I'm supposed to be doing.) It's sad.

12 Stop scrounging Smash Hits from Year 8 and kidding myself it's only to "keep in touch with youth culture".

13 Start wearing make-up for parent's evening. That should stop parents asking what you're doing sitting in Ms Warren's chair.

14 Stop using extra-curricular activities as a substitute for a social life.

15 Stop passing out in front of Emmerdale every night and saving all my work for the weekend. Subsequently stop complaining that every weekend is taken up with work.

16 Admit to head of department that sum total of Internet experience is quickly typing in www.Leonardo.naked when Year 9 were supposed to be drafting some essays.

17 Learn how to lie when each class asks "Have you got a boyfriend, Miss?" 18 Start thinking about how to phrase that lonely hearts ad.

19 Stop spying on WAR 10 every lunch break. They can get through 60 minutes without my nurturing guidance. This isn't pastoral care. It's pastoral complex. Look into buying gerbil.

20 Work out what IT stands for.

21 Trying to photocopy bum is not an accurate way of gauging if I have put on weight, and can lead to embarrassing situations.

22 Own up that it's really me who keeps on breaking the photocopier.

23 Stop wasting every morning free period by sneaking into the resources room and catching up on Richard and Judy.

24 Stop thinking excess stationery is a substitute for proper organisation.

25 Stop stealing red pens from my colleague at the next desk and swearing innocence. Then he might come back from psychiatric sick leave.

26 End caffeine addiction. Perhaps replace with sex addiction?

27 Learn that recovering is not the same as relaxing.

28 Stop using chocolate digestives as a classroom management technique.

29 Start stockpiling short skirts in time for our OFSTED inspection.

30 Start seriously considering obsessive use of delaying tactics.

Gemma Warren teaches English at the Latymer School, north London

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