Living in the rush hour

6th June 2008 at 01:00
I can no longer roll into school at a decent hour with several periods in which to plan my two lessons for the day, photocopy material, laminate resources and have a long-lasting cup of tea
I can no longer roll into school at a decent hour with several periods in which to plan my two lessons for the day, photocopy material, laminate resources and have a long-lasting cup of tea.

Gone are the days when planning a one-hour lesson took a day and a half, and the days when I was able to stop and chat to "proper" teachers and staff members. Now I am one of those "proper" teachers with not much time to chat.

Not for me now those days when I had time to check my email accounts "just in case" I got a message from a long-lost friend and I could write back about my "oh-so-stressful PGCE year". Those special moments may be gone, but I am loving every minute of the start of my actual career.

The PGCE was a stressful year, what with juggling several thousand-word-long essays, taking on lessons, marking their work and having to attend after-school meetings.

But the newly qualified teacher year involves so much more. It's all go, go, go, but I now feel fully involved. I have my own classes, pupils and responsibilities. An email about an extra-curricular opportunity brightens up my day.

At weekends, I look purposefully through newspapers and bookshops in case I come across something I am able to use in my lessons.

Yes, having a proper lie-in on a weekday morning was a privilege, but waking up nearer 6am and, on occasion, taking two trains and a bus to get to school and back, is well worth it. Especially to occasionally hear comments such as: "Thank you, I really enjoyed that lesson." Could there be a more rewarding career?

Sophie Smithson is a newly qualified teacher at The Hertfordshire and Essex High School in Bishop's Stortford.

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