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Lessons from that first year

Not knowing what to do after the completion of a business degree, it had been a last minute decision to enrol on PGCE teaching course at Huddersfield University. The course was an excellent grounding for my first appointment as a part-time business lecturer at Eastbourne College of Arts and Technology.

The college had been my last hope, having applied for many full-time positions and being rejected at numerous interviews. At every turn I had been turned down for lack of knowledge and experience, and it was my determination that led me to the sunny Eastbourne coast.

Nothing could have prepared me for a 22-hour teaching load and two tutor groups. My first year contained many late nights preparing for lessons and grappling with the new GNVQ courses. On numerous occasions it was me who stayed at the college from 8am until 9pm, hogged the photocopier and continually asked my experienced colleagues questions about how to deal with problems. It was a time of rapid development whereby I was learning from every new teaching experience. It wasn't just the teaching, but all the paperwork, assessments, student problems and meetings which I had failed to comprehend. They had not taught us this on the training course.

After three months I managed to borrow a computer and printer from the college which made life a lot easier. I also began to realise that setting many assignments meant that they also had to be marked and that dealing with pigeon-hole communication cannot be left for longer than a day. Also, getting involved in college activities and course meetings is essential for increasing your name circulation.

My colleagues were very helpful and supportive, and every student name and achievement will be remembered with a gentle smile.

Having now gained some valuable experience and knowledge, I have found myself accepting a permanent position at another college, but I shall never forget my first year in Eastbourne.

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