My first block placement was so different it was a real shock to the system.
I guess I had been viewing the teaching world through rose-tinted spectacles. This school had recently come out of special measures, covers a deprived catchment area, and has a reputation that makes the eyes water. When I heard where I was being placed my first reaction was "what have I done to deserve this?" but I was prepared to give it a go. After all, my initial placement hadn't been in the most salubrious school, and that had turned out to be brilliant. The day I arrived in the school my heart sank. The attitude of the staff was far from welcoming - hostile even, the department was seriously understaffed and the pupils were enough to frighten the life out of any rookie teacher. It could only get better, couldn't it?
Sadly, no, it couldn't. The resources were severely limited and it felt as if no one had any time for me. I don't think the idea of student support had occurred to them. I'm a born survivor but after a few weeks I was beginning to flounder. Did I really want to teach? Could I teach? I took the stress home, didn't sleep well, didn't eat well and took it all out on the family. This couldn't go on. I ended up sobbing in my tutor's office, (that's what they're there for), then once back at school was berated for seeking that help and support. Thanks to my tutor and the good experience I had at my initial school, I know that I can teach. One day I will teach and I'm on my way to being a teacher. I have learnt some valuable lessons from these two vastly different experiences.
When going into my NQT year I shall be looking for a supportive department, not necessarily at the best school or the school with the best exam results, but at the school that really cares, and, like me, believes that teachers really can make a difference.