I didn't expect this

3rd December 2004 at 00:00
If someone had told me a year ago that I'd be enthusing about my job to other NQTs, I wouldn't have believed them.

I did my induction last year, and it got off to a shaky start. My first teaching job was in a good school, with extremely supportive staff and a friendly class of five and six-year-olds.

Living in a part of the city that has a lot of tough schools, I knew I was lucky. But those first months were horrible. My life had undergone a complete change and I felt tired and overwhelmed. I was stressed out, I couldn't sleep and I felt exhausted and tearful much of the time. Life seemed bleak and I couldn't see things changing.

Things certainly picked up after Christmas. All the seasonal stress (Christmas production, end-of-term assessments and so on) had gone, and in the holiday I had managed to get a good rest, so I came back to school refreshed and ready to make a fresh start with my class.

After Christmas, work got better and better. And what a difference a year makes - a six-week break, a new set of pupils and a fresh perspective.

This time around, the first couple of weeks were tough - but I'd expected them to be and was prepared. I knew things would get better. I'd learnt that I can't expect myself to be "excellent" all the time, and to appreciate that I am improving day by day.

Of course, I don't mean that my job is always fabulous, but there is a huge difference in the way that I feel now compared with how it all was a year ago. I still have a list of things to do that's as long as my arm. But take heart - things get better.

Erica Johnson teaches at St Saviour primary school in Lambeth, south London

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today