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Striking the right chord

I changed to a career in teaching in 2001 hoping to "make a difference" and in search of some real job satisfaction utilising my skills in music. I realised it was going to be challenging, but did not expect it to be such an all-consuming, sharp learning curve!

From a background in retailofficepersonnel and training management, I started the graduate teacher programme and was flung in at the deep end with a Year 2 class. I struggled with terminology and timetabling, ability range and behaviour management, subject knowledge, planning, marking, organisation and logistics, not to mention Sats; it was a culture shock.

Presented with the literacy plans for my first week I wondered what it all meant. I had never heard of phonics, guided reading or writing, had to look up basic terminology such as verbs and adjectives, and found it difficult to fit everything in the literacy hour. It seemed to take so long to do everything that there was barely time for the children to show their learning in their exercise books!

My evenings and weekends were swallowed up with marking, planning, and working on my evidence folders, to the point that I felt like I was constantly at work. There were many times when I felt like leaving, but with support from training courses and colleagues I managed to get through it.

Only four years later, I am doing exactly what I want to do. I teach music throughout the school, from nursery to Year 6. I'm making the most of my musical skills, which was my original intention, but I did not expect the school to be so accommodating. From stress to job satisfaction in four years - I didn't expect that!

Ann Foster works in Hawksmoor school in the borough of Greenwich

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