Date: January 5th 2019
Status: awake. Very awake.
Time until alarm: No alarm, two children. 6am if I’m lucky.
‘Get ups’ until school: 2.
Reason for being awake: excitement.
Actual reason for being awake: genuine excitement.
Elaborate: Odd, right? How many of us teachers can remark, in earnest, that they’ve lost sleep because they’re too excited to go back to school?
I was the same last year. In January 2018 I was full of excitement and enthusiasm. After a difficult first term settling back into school after my second child, I’d reflected over Christmas and decided that 2018 was the year for me. I turned off Tes daily job notifications and decided I would make the most of being in the school I’d been at for the past 5 years. I’d set up that network group I’d always wanted to establish, would hopefully hear back about that additional TLR role I’d applied for and would embrace every opportunity that presented itself.
Only, none of that really happened. No-one replied to my emails about that network group (not even my own colleagues), few opportunities presented themselves and, while that additional TLR did work out, it didn’t involve the training it had promised.
My 2018 excitement fizzled quickly and in its place grew frustration and disappointment.
By February, I’d had enough. In a fit of sheer irritation at my ideas and hard work being undermined and ignored, I stormed to my classroom from yet another disappointing meeting and typed ‘Tes jobs’ into google – out of spite more than anything else – and stumbled on an advert with a little promise to it.
Big debate time: should I leave a good reputation, a secure part-time deal, two TLRs and all the good relationships I’d forged for a school that might, maybe, offer something more promising? Would they want me, expensive as I am these days? Would they accept me as a part-time if I did get the job? Would I find again that my ideas and work would be ignored, confirming my fears that, actually, they simply weren’t helpful or good enough to be worthy of a response?
Back to this year.
I did get the job. I did get part-time. My ideas have not been ignored; they’ve been embraced. My resources have been requested and shared between colleagues, my ideas acknowledged at a local teach-meet, my experience utilised with trainees; my advice sought.
That network group that didn’t work last year will run this year, I will continue to work with trainees, I’ve made great relationships with colleagues and students alike and have all sorts of plans, plots and projects (not to mention pub trips – how can it be helped when there’s a brilliant village pub opposite the school?!).
I cannot wait to get back to the classes who – while I wasn’t initially pleased to see them on my timetable I am learning so much from, to the new role I’ve taken up with our SEN department and to everything else that 2019 might bring.
This, my friends, is why I cannot sleep tonight.
The writer is an English teacher in the East Midlands