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How I tamed my inner dominatrix

When I graduated I didn't know what I was going to do. I didn't have a job lined up, and was facing a nine-week summer holiday. However, I registered with three supply agencies and spent the summer hoping and praying that somehow I'd at least get to start my NQT year. All I'd ever wanted to be was a primary school teacher, so applying for jobs, some of which had 500 applicants per post, and getting nowhere, was so disheartening.

Well, I was lucky enough to be offered a temporary contract at a school in Yorkshire, teaching a mixed Year 56 class. The head said that I would be observed during the first week, and if I was good enough, would be asked to stay on. I've been there ever since.

The first few weeks passed by in ignorant bliss. My fellow university graduates were ringing me regularly and commenting on the fact that "teaching practice was much easier than the real thing". I was thinking the exact opposite. I prided myself on being an organised multi-tasker and I was finding the role of classroom teacher a doddle. Nothing like the hoops mentors and practice heads made you jump through.

My state of ignorant bliss continued until just before Christmas, when I had my first NQT review, in which I was described as overconfident and overbearing. That floored me. I lost all my confidence, and spent the entire holiday worrying that I wasn't good enough, and that no matter what I did, I'd wasted three years of my life doing a degree which was suddenly useless.

Well let's just say that what was said in that meeting completely changed my outlook on my personal teaching style. I'm very glad I didn't give up, and every time I hear a child say: "Miss, I get it now!" or "I love this lesson!" after a particularly gruelling numeracy or science session, I smile to myself, and remember that that's why we do what we do. Because let's face it, it's not for the money.

It's the best feeling in the world, and it makes me realise how lucky I am to do a job I love, even if I do make mistakes occasionally. Teachers are only human after a **

Sarah Mellor has just completed her NQT year in North Yorkshire

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