Spread your wings

23rd March 2007 at 00:00
As a student, I could eat, sleep in and be merry. Now I plan, mark and talk teaching, but I am loving it, says Rebecca Knowles

So here I am, slowly wading through a mountain of paperwork, wondering if I am ever going to learn how to prioritise and manage my time effectively.

Alongside teaching, college work and re-inventing the wheel, apparently I am also meant to have a life. What's that? This time last year I was a final year student with a social life Paris Hilton could envy. I was a whole person; I had interests, hobbies and friends. I could sleep in, watch TV, drink and be merry.

Now, however, socialising has fast been relegated to the bottom of my arm-length "To do" list. I am clinging to the memory of my student days and trying to convince myself that one day I can start living again. I cannot remember the last time I had a conversation that did not involve a school.

I am living a life of planning, evaluating, marking and qualified teacher status standards.

So when did this happen? It has certainly been gradual. Cocooned in my PGCE chrysalis, I have gradually metamorphosed into this thing called a trainee teacher. I learn something every day and try to be good at what is possibly the hardest thing in the world. The workload is far heavier than I ever anticipated and beginning to resemble Mount Everest. I am six months into the course, I have reached base camp and I am not giving up now. I may be suffering slight frostbite and ever-increasing altitude sickness, but it is worth it. At least, I think it is.

Of course, I have had my lows. I have taught lessons that have not quite gone to plan and faced some challenging behaviour. I am continually demoralised by the fact that there is always something I am not getting quite right. But I am working on it and trying my best. Beyond all the hard work, the huge learning curve and sleep deprivation, I have to say I am loving it.

I love waking up every morning and looking forward to walking into school and seeing hundreds of friendly faces. I love having pupils calling me Miss (even if they should know my surname) and being asked questions that I never could have anticipated in a million years. I love trying to engage pupils' minds and thinking of new ways for them to enjoy learning English and English literature. I can honestly say I do not think I would be able to get this much job satisfaction anywhere else.

Unfortunately, I have one more thing to add to my ever-expanding "To do"

list... getting a permanent job Rebecca Knowles is taking a PGCE in secondary English at Cambridge University

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