Nothing to fear but fear itself

13th June 2008 at 01:00
Thoughts of failure filled my mind as I walked through the gates and a nervous, overwhelming feeling of inadequacy swept over me
Thoughts of failure filled my mind as I walked through the gates and a nervous, overwhelming feeling of inadequacy swept over me.

I rehearsed my opening lines for my first class on my way to the staffroom, trying hard to block out the horror stories I had been told. But to no avail. The ghost of NQTs past fluttered by, reminding me of the awful experiences of those young, determined and ambitious souls who had gone before.

All of my uncertainties were reinforced on entering the staffroom, when the assembled company took pleasure in reminiscing about their first days. In hindsight it was good-hearted, but it appeared cynical at the time. Then the bell rang: it was either the start of a luminous career or enough to drive me out of teaching.

I made my way to the mobile unit I called my class, avoiding all eye contact in an effort to remain focused and in control. There, my pupils stood waiting, quiet and on time. As they filtered in, lining the back wall I made my way to the front and turned towards them.

This would be the first "great stand off" of many and I drew first, firing my opening lines at the nameless faces. But something unexpected occurred as my confidence grew with every word and sentence. It was not that they were listening, but that my well-rehearsed speech was being replaced by another, one more natural.

At no point has dealing with parents, writing risk assessments, time-management, teaching lessons all day and marking books come naturally, but in that instant I felt comfortable and knew the bell echoing in my ears was the start of something exciting. The excitement has made me see only the positives in everything that happens. Forgetting a meeting, showing up late for duty or forgetting to plan a lesson becomes an opportunity for development, learning how to become an excellent teacher.

Allen Hall is a new teacher at Pendle Vale College in Nelson, Lancashire.

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