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Ho, ho, hole

The hole. During the first term of my training I was warned by my tutor that this is how they referred to the second half of the autumn term. The energy and enthusiasm of September seem a dim and distant memory. We come to work in the dark, travel home in dark and whether we like it or not "the hole" will consume us.

I haven't thought about this cynical phrase for nearly a year and in the first term of my NQT year I am ridiculously - in fact irritatingly - keen, dedicated and joyful and the past two months have been some of the happiest and most rewarding of my life.

However, I think despite my best efforts I may be slipping into "the hole". My NQT goggles have so far provided a firm footing against the slippery slope of exhaustion, frustration and overwork but as the days get shorter and the list of things still to be done gets longer, I fear I'm losing the battle.

I'm beginning to realise with dismay that the classes who worked their little socks off for me in September weren't doing so because (as I believed) I was the best teacher ever and had inspired them with a fresh love of learning, but because they were eager to be back and keen to impress a new teacher who gave them lollies.

They're not so keen now. Year 8s are as interested in studying war poetry as they are in getting out of bed. Year 10s are battling with their second English coursework deadline ("jog on, Miss") and while Year 7 still smell of primary school, it's starting to turn slightly sour.

My worry is: just how deep is this hole? The pile of marking is weighing down my once pristine and colour co-ordinated desk, while Christmas is looming on the horizon along with words like "Can we do something fun, Miss?"

But surely I'm not going to let these minor inconveniences get the better of me? Aren't I made of sterner stuff? Put your NQT goggles back on girl, climb out of that hole and have a whole lot of faith that spring will be here in no time.

Tamsin Page is an English NQT at Hitchingbrooke School in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

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