Going through hell? Keep going

22nd June 2007 at 01:00
Monday: the accident had just happened. I could see swerved cars and the legs of a child who was lying on the road. I stopped. It was a Year 7 girl.

Not a good start to the week.

Tuesday: the accident had just happened. I could see swerved cars and the head of a child who was lying on the road. I stopped. It was a Year 7 girl.

Ever had a feeling of dej... vu?

Wednesday: driving carefully, eyes peeled for run-over Year 7 girls.

Thankfully things don't always happen in threes. I made it to school without an incident. The week can only get better. Staff briefing: the school is in debt, expect lots of cutbacks.

Thursday: What else can happen this week? Ofsted, that's what. Yes, the inspectors will be here on Monday. Friday, Saturday and Sunday pass in a blur of 20-hour days as everyone frantically tries to tie every loose end, update their planners and create minutely detailed lesson plans.

The following week: Ofsted has gone and we are now in special measures. The staff are in a state of shock. Never mind, we break up next week and in the new term, well, it can only get better, can't it? What else can go wrong?

First day back: My classroom is chained and padlocked. What's going on? Asbestos. This building is closed until further notice. No books, equipment or lesson plans can be accessed. Am I to spend my time resourcelessly hot-rooming around the school?

Second day back: Anyone seen my teaching assistant? Maybe she's got lost with all the room changes? No. She's not coming back. No need to replace her - remember the cutbacks?

It was all downhill from there. I left two terms into my newly qualified teacher (NQT) year. I thought teaching wasn't for me. Fortunately I was persuaded to try supply work and to experience different schools before making a decision about leaving the profession. It was the best advice I've had.

It hasn't taken long for me to remember why I want to be a teacher. So for anyone who is coming to the end of their NQT year and is questioning whether teaching is really for them, I'll give you the same advice as was given to me. Don't give up until you've experienced a range of schools. The perfect one is out there somewhere for you.

Anne Morgan is a new teacher in Manchester

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