Picture my success story

4th January 2008 at 00:00
When anyone asked me in August how I was feeling about starting school, I said: "I can't wait to start. I'm going to have my own class." Ignorantly, I walked in on the first day expecting a bed of roses and was rudely awoken. It wasn't the children who were the problem, it was the information overload, targets, assessment and planning.

While I seemed like I was coping on the surface, I was quickly drowning under the never-ending pile of things to do. Everyone kept asking me how I was getting on. At first, because I didn't want to admit that I was struggling, I said: "OK."

Behind the scenes I was at the lowest I have ever been and I was going home crying. My dad told me to give it up if I couldn't cope and do something else. If it was any other job, then I probably would have. However, I could not do it to my pupils. I said to my dad that I would see the year out and then change careers completely - to what I didn't know.

Towards the end of the first half-term, I told the truth to my colleagues: I couldn't cope. They told me: "It gets better!" All I could think was: when? When would it all start to make sense? When would I go into school in the morning knowing what I am going to do that day? When would I enjoy what I was doing? That was the first half of term one.

Now at the start of term two, I can answer those questions. Something clicked last term and I enjoy coming to school and teaching my Year 3 and 4 class. It's good to come in knowing what is going on because I can concentrate on tweaking things that didn't work last term. I know I have just started my new career and have a lot to learn, but the main thing is that I am enjoying it.

A girl in my class came in towards the end of last term with a picture. At Brownies she had to think of someone who helps her. She chose me and drew me in a gorgeous pink outfit. From all around me bubbles came out with words such as "helpful", "pretty", "kind" and "doesn't shout".

This picture is now in the front of my teaching file so that whenever I do have an off day and think that this isn't the job for me, I can look at that and remind myself it definitely is.

Kaylea Chudasama is a Year 3 and 4 teacher at Brompton Westbrook Primary School in Gillingham, Kent.

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