Help! I've been thrown in at the deep end

21st September 2001 at 01:00
Entillza: I feel I have bitten off more than I can chew. I have a job in a tough school but with good support. I am teaching 20-25 periods and feel I can't cope. Please tell me I'm not alone. It will get easier won't it?

Natalie:No, you're not alone. I am in the same position. I have the advantage of being 35, I've done a demanding job before and my long-term partner is a teacher so I know what it's like. The school year is mad until early July but then it fizzles out and you have the summer hols - and you should make the most of them.

I have promised myself that I'm not going to be up until 12 every night marking. I'll get into school dead early and work hard while I'm there, but I'll give myself time for sport and other activities. There's no point killing yourself and being so knackered that you can't teach. The TES 2000 Tips for Teachers is a helpful book but expensive at pound;22.

Sophie G:

Forget getting through the year. Concentrate on getting through till half term. That should be your goal. If you achieve it, reward yourself with something indulgent. After October, the rest will become easier as the children remember your rules and you stop repeating yourself so often.

Giraffe:

I have just finished my induction year in a very tough school so I know how you feel. I found the key to coping was supportive staff who helped to see me through it. Working with challenging children will stretch you and even help you to become a more thoughtful and adaptable teacher. If you get to the point where you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope, you should seek help straight away. Don't forget, you can leave at the end of term if it isn't the right school for you. Induction can be completed in more than one school. Hope this helps.

For more exchanges of advice between old hands and new, visit the NQT forum at www.tes.co.uk

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