Broke, book, mountain
I went into my first term as a student teacher at an inner London secondary thinking I'd heard it all a thousand times and thus I was prepared. How wrong I was. What a difference it is between hearing stories from teachers in the family and experiencing the grind yourself.
After a week or three of wearing my "teacher costume" in September, I had never felt so shattered. Even my hair was tired. I developed that mentally deranged look of many new teachers. I couldn't believe I would make it alive.
Thinking back, I went a bit mad. I would rush from room to room (I'm a nomad teacher) with piles of exercise books in each arm, boxes of highlighters, whiteboard pens and the "Bromcom", shoes falling off and bits of lost paper flying behind.
I could regularly be seen scuttling up the wrong staircase and being laughed at by my pupils for being lost until at least half-term.
I realised with horror that a good degree in English literature 10 years ago did not qualify me at all to teach grammar and I spent hours swotting up. It turned out I didn't know how to spell onomatopoeia but the Year 11s did; and I had no idea what to do when the Year 10s had a mass panic attack about the ladybird invasion and stood on their chairs.
I have just about mastered the difference between complex and compound sentences and got to grips with the geography of the school. Added to that were the productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream and Romeo and Juliet that I put on with Year 7s and 8s (they were brilliant) and the laughs I now have with some of the pupils. So I don't feel that terrified of coming back next year ... I think.
Lydia Aers is on the Graduate Teacher Programme at Highbury Fields School in north London.