On the road to success

13th July 2007 at 01:00
* ready, steady, teach

The sleepless nights began in mid-August, when it really began to sink in that come September, I'd be teaching twice the number of lessons per week than ever before. That if I failed to get a good start with the kids, it wouldn't just be a case of surviving 12 weeks, but an entire year. That I'd be a "proper" teacher at long last.

I realised when I was a PGCE student that this is a job where you'll never feel that you're good enough. I know I'll be learning and picking up tips until I'm old and grey (should I survive that long). However, I think the first term of your new teacher year is an exceptionally steep learning curve. It's all about holding on for grim death, because it's true, it really does get easier after Christmas.

Having said that, I still have stinkingly bad days, but much less frequently. I'm lucky enough to be in a supportive department in a school where there is real team spirit. When you're having a bad day, there's always someone to laugh with, and when things are going well, there's always someone to congratulate you.

In my first term, I had a Year 11 pupil who complained that I couldn't teach. We had some real battles, and for a while the whole group were my second worst class (there's no silver lining with the number one worst class, yet).

However, the other week, we were discussing staying on to sixth form. The same pupil asked me who would teach my subject in Year 12. When I warned her it might be me, she told me that she wouldn't mind. Not exactly resounding praise, but I was elated and it was definitely one of the high points of the year for me.

I hate marking, with a passion. Chasing children for homework is an absolute chore. But I love driving to work and not being 100 per cent sure what'll happen. I'm never bored, I spend most days smiling and laughing, the holidays are great, and it's fantastic to feel that I might, in a small way, be making a difference to some of the children I teach. I feel lucky to be a teach **

Rebecca Pyne is a new teacher in Lancaster

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