'I left home at 5.30am and got back at 8pm'

17th March 2006 at 00:00
Kelly Millward is in the third year of her second teaching job at St James Church of England primary school, Muswell Hill, north London.

When I first started, I didn't really think too much about how I was going to get to the school. Having a job was more important. I was provided with a taxi to take me from the tube station to the school for the interview.

I had no idea how difficult the journey would be. The school was in Bermondsey, south-east London, and I lived in East Finchley, in north London.

Basically, there were no bus routes going to the school from the tube station so, every day, I ended up having to take a 20-minute walk, having already travelled for 35 minutes on the tube and walking another 10 minutes from my house to the station. It added up to be a really long journey.

I was getting up at about 5.30 every morning because, being a new teacher, I needed about an hour-and-a-half to prepare my lessons. I would try to be in school for 7.30 in the morning. If I overslept by 10 minutes, it would affect my whole journey and my whole day. The experience was a nightmare.

I also needed at least two hours to mark my work and to prepare for the next day. So there was no way I would leave before 6 o'clock in the evening.

I had no life whatsoever. I used to get home at about 7.30 to 8pm every evening and then I'd go straight to bed after eating. I'd be up again by 5.30 in the morning. I was really tired and a bit grumpy. I never felt fresh.

It was a one-form entry school and five of us left at the same time, mainly because the transport was so bad.

I like living in north London. Most of my friends live here. So for me, the option was to change schools, not move closer. The first thing I looked for in my next school was that it was within 15 minutes of my home.

Jobs tip: Before you accept a job, try out the journey. A big part of the job is getting there and getting back, so make sure you can do it without stress.

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