Find your feet, then the filing cabinet

18th May 2007 at 01:00
I have enjoyed my PGCE, embracing each new challenge as only a life-long learner can. But the hardest part I didn't see coming at all. It's not the Year 9s who resent being told what to do by someone who looks like their big sister. It's not the Year 7s and their toilet humour. It's not having someone looking over my shoulder at everything I do, checking I've ticked every box and catered for every learning style, special need, gift, talent, problem and preference I might encounter in the classroom (in each of my exciting, enriching, innovative and perfectly planned lessons).

It's not the hours spent creating colourful resources complete with appropriate, educational, motivational, inclusive and politically correct illustrations, and it's not even the hours spent on trains simply getting to school.

After all this I will be brimming with smiles and ideas for the next day.

Until I am handed a piece of paper and told: "Put this in your file". Which file? Under which section? Faced with personal development planning, schemes of work, reports, marking, professional studies, curriculum studies, assignments, evaluations, observations, bulletins and plans, is it any wonder I panic each and every time I am handed a new piece of paper?

Everyone has their thing, and I challenge anyone to say they completed the PGCE year without being shocked at the demands the course places on your capacity for professionalism and humility (not to mention your social life).

I can balance most of this with my newly acquired self-belief and juggling skills. I can't honestly say that I handle the reams of paper with such clear vision.

It might seem strange to entrust the education of our nation to the overworked, overtired people we call teachers, but this year I have discovered that if you want something done you should give it to a busy person. And nobody is busier than a teacher.

The PGCE may have fuelled my fear of filing, but the very fact that I have been challenged and inspired every day has led me to believe that teachers are incredible, resourceful people who are masters at prioritising. I want to be one. Not because I am altruistic, academic and admirable, but because, as my mentor said to me, once you've been a teacher, anything else seems incredibly simple Claire Higgins is taking a PGCE in secondary modern languages at Sussex University

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