Finally, I can see daylight before and after my school day. What a difference that makes. I've shifted the incessant winter cold and at last, the children in the school know which "Miss" I am.
Up to this point, it's as if I've been swamped with pressure. All the time I've had a nagging feeling that I'm not implementing all those exciting things that I'd thought of over the summer. It's been described before as "survival mode", and that's really where I've been. Only now do I feel that I have found my way and can be come the teacher I wanted to be when I started.
I'm starting to see that my hotchpotch of lessons have actually meant something. I can see that the children's reading, writing and so on are actually better. What a tonic. It's such an ego boost when I hear them quoting me to their parents. Most people go into teaching to make a positive difference and somehow I have, though I still can't quite believe it.
But is there any time to sit back and enjoy a feeling of triumph? Nope. My thoughts are already wandering into next year. I sit in assembly scanning all the classes and wonder who I'll get next. While I convince myself that next autumn won't consist of long days of planning and resource finding, I'm panicking - next year I lose my extra half day for induction and I'll have some co-ordinator responsibility too. Yoiks!
Tamsin Ford is an NQT at the Palmer CE junior school, Wokingham, Berkshire