Ready to confound the doom merchants

15th October 2004 at 01:00
OK, will everyone please stop telling me how hard the first year of teaching is, or I might turn round and go back to my well-paid, no-responsibility temping job.

Ever since I started training I have been warned about what hard graft teaching is, but never more so than of late.

When the head of your school tells you you're in for a rough ride, how can you be expected to stay positive and enthusiastic for a career you haven't even begun?

I know it's best to be prepared for the worst, but sometimes the truth hurts. When you go to the dentist for a filling, the receptionist would never say: "God, poor you. It's going to hurt like hell. But don't worry - the excruciating pain is unlikely to scar you for life." So why does everyone I've come into contact with recently insist on scaring me with horror stories of how tough the NQT year is?

And I'm not just talking about people in the profession. My best friend, a lawyer whose last brush with education was more than a decade ago, has suddenly become an expert on the induction year. She's told me to prepare myself for possibly the worst year of my life. Apparently, being a teacher makes her 15-hour days in the City look like a breeze. Just about everyone seems to have an opinion on it.

Secretly, I'm hoping the slog of induction year is an urban myth. I expect they will have to invent some kind of national award to acknowledge how I breezed through it and made it look like a walk in the park. There will probably be a plaque in my honour on the school bench and a tree planted in the playground.

I know that's not likely and, despite trying to look forward to what is supposedly one of the most rewarding careers you could have, I am feeling positively glum about the whole thing. I spent the final two weeks of the summer holidays saying goodbye to friends, family and my social life. I have put the proverbial dog in a home, cancelled the papers and milk and bought lots of tinned food. My life as I know it is over.

Or is it? Even though the NQT year is bound to be tough, I am hoping the support from my induction tutor as well as other colleagues and friends will help. And given that everyone knows how hard it is, I am hoping the school will go easy on me. I have spent the entire summer planning, and reading Sue Cowley books, so I couldn't be more organised if I tried.

And if it is really as bad as they say, I guess it can only get better.

There's nothing like looking on the bright side.

The writer wishes to remain anonymous

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