On probation

14th November 2008 at 00:00

I have managed to survive my first term as a primary school teacher. Phew! My mind and body felt drained after what was possibly the most exhausting, enjoyable, stressful and educational period of my life. The October break was just what I needed to recharge myself after such an intense few months.

During the first term, there were many times when the workload became extremely overwhelming. Although this was really daunting, I have learnt the importance of taking everything one step at a time.

My whole life has become consumed with my new career as a teacher. I find myself waking up at night with wonderful ideas for my next topic lesson on the Olympic Games or how I might use certain resources to build my classroom display. I have surprised myself with what I can do with a few yogurt cartons and cereal boxes. I have quickly recognised that teaching is simply not a 9am to 3pm job, but something which is with you morning, noon and night.

Just recently, I had my first continuing professional development day with the local council. This was an opportunity to meet fellow probationers, share a social drink and unload all our experiences from the past term. Knowing that other people have encountered the same delights and difficulties as me was very reassuring and helped to make me feel less isolated.

Most of the probationers talked about a really disruptive child in their class or a child who was an absolute joy to teach. It's good to know there are other people out there sharing this journey.

As I have progressed through the weeks, I have realised that every day at school brings something different, a mixture of highs and lows. These have ranged from one child grasping a new concept for the first time and the accompanying sense of achievement to another informing me that her dog had died at the weekend.

The fact that no day is ever the same has helped to make my new career such an interesting and enjoyable experience. I can't think of many other jobs which offer this level of variety.

Since the holiday, I have been prepared for the long hard shift till Christmas. This time, though, I feel much better equipped to handle whatever the term might bring.

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