Whatever your pupils think of you, it can be comforting to check your astrological chart. Adam Smith offers a reading of your signs
ARIES "You handle your class well - no child thinks they can mess you around"
You are especially lucky with Mars, your ruler, which is sitting very well with you until the beginning of March. You can handle your class well, and no child should think they can mess you around. You should be feeling excited about your future. With Jupiter also easily placed, your plans will unfold as though driven on autopilot. You can't put a foot wrong over the next few months, and nothing can stand in your way, so take a few calculated risks. But don't push your luck too far.
TAURUS "you can't expect to earn a living from inside an ivory tower"
Your teaching practice may not have lived up to your expectations, but keep quiet. This is not the time to dig your heels in over principles. Security is always at the top of the Taurus agenda and you can't expect to earn a living from inside an ivory tower. Soon the outer-planet commotion in your career area will settle down and you'll be able to relax a bit more, despite your doubts. You'll see, change isn't always for the worst. All that paperwork and budget streamlining might also rub you up the wrong way, but take a closer look at up-to-date ideas - you might learn something useful. And weigh up your options carefully in early January; Mercury's getting back on his tracks and you don't want to miss a trick once you start job-hunting.
GEMINI "By the end of term, you'll have had plenty of space to think"
Your usual extrovert and bubbly style has grown up a bit, and that should do you no harm in the job market. Saturn crossing your Sun may have stretched your energy to its very limit, but you're coping exceptionally well with the extra workload, so don't worry. You're seen as someone to be reckoned with. You might feel knackered, but the dark days are nearly over. Your energy level will soon be on the increase and it's reasonable to think of 2003 as year zero in your new life. Abandon all anxieties and keep the positive flow going. By the end of term, you'll have had plenty of space to think and you'll be clear about what kind of teacher you're going to be. Keep your wits about you though - Mars in your opposite sign through February means somebody close to you may be spoiling for a fight, but you can't afford to get too drawn in.
CANCER "You're never going to be a scary teacher, but pupils will like your softer side"
Sensitive souls may have trouble with teaching practice, but don't think you'll be spending all your time bawling at deaf ears. You're never going to be a scary teacher but emotional rapport is your underrated quality and pupils will like your softer side. Get ready to surprise yourself - you're going to find yourself more in demand than you imagined with Venus going through your relationship area in February. You're a born diplomat, so make delicate negotiations work out the way you expect. A careful compromise turns out well. The full Moon on January 18 is a time when your moods are at their most effusive, so make the most of it, and get those assignments done.
LEO "You should be getting on well with your mentor - your outlook is rosy"
Jupiter crossing your Sun brings out a new thoughtful you, and your pupils are going to be impressed. You should be getting on well with your mentor, so, if you need a helping hand, your outlook is pretty rosy. If you wanted to pick a time to be under pressure to achieve, you couldn't have chosen much better with Jupiter in your sign. This is a blue-chip event, and you'll be bursting with energy, feeling all-round fairly well bomb-proof, so make the most of it. Be careful with your bank balance though; you're magnanimous, and you want to shine, but you're still training, and you've got some way to go before you can treat yourself as much as you think you deserve.
VIRGO "more pupils will respond to your meticulous approach"
You worked like a Trojan last term, and while the spotlight is due to leave you by the Easter holidays, you can't afford to back off yet. Tough decisions may have involved sacrifices on your part, but take heart if you're having doubts that you made the right career move. You will soon realise how smart you've been, and more pupils will respond to your meticulous approach. Once Uranus makes its way into your opposite sign by the spring term you go into unpredictable mode, and you'll feel an urge to break away from the routine. Be careful though, you've got a course to get through. If radical change is thrust upon you learn to enjoy it and make life easy for yourself.
LIBRA "You treat job interviews in the same way as a dinner date"
You are going to charm your way into your first teaching job, no question about it. Treating job interviews in the same way as a dinner date is a very Libran view, and the stars are on your side, so use every trick available to you. You like the image you present as a teacher and you're in the happy position of feeling free while getting ahead. Consider your career moves carefully in early January while Mercury is askew. Make double sure applications are properly thought through before committing yourself to a job offer. A job possibility that you thought had disappeared may pop up again, but don't panic - enjoy the luxury of choice.
SCORPIO "Things will get better as spring and summer terms unfold"
You've been working hard this winter, as both your ruling planets come together in February. Super-stellar conditions beckon as the spring and summer terms unfold, however, so you should be feeling rather clearer about things, especially if the switch to teaching has left you feeling a bit confused. This is only the beginning of an exciting time in your life. New vistas will open up - just don't let your ambitions run away with themselves. Shadowy Neptune is posing questions but it is vital to keep active and seek the advice of those you trust. Stick to your guns. It may seem like simple stubbornness at first, but you need to stay true to yourself, no matter what.
SAGITTARIUS "your new career comes as naturally to you as breathing"
Ever felt like you're being pulled in two directions? Saturn in your opposite sign gives you the discipline to toe the line and stick to the course. While someone overbearing in authority can be a pain, don't let them get you down. Sagittarius is the teachers' sign, so your new career comes to you as naturally as breathing. If you feel doubtful, remind yourself you are in exactly the place you have always wanted to be. There may also be money enough around you to let you forget your workload for a while and as Venus and Mars track through Sagittarius in January and February, romantic opportunities surface to keep your social life ticking over while your nose is buried in the books.
CAPRICORN "double-check your deadlines and install extra computer virus protection "
Paying attention is a must, with Mercury going backwards through your sign in January. Take care to choose the right assignment, double-check your deadlines - extra virus protection for the computer may also be a good idea. You are reviewing recent offers and rectifying small mistakes and omissions, which may have a bigger say in the term to come. Hold off big decisions until you have all the facts, especially when it comes to signing on the line. Leave yourself a little room to manoeuvre. You can be extremely stubborn but use a little discretion and you may save yourself an embarrassing U-turn if and when you unearth an unexpected loophole in your plans.
AQUARIUS "You may be creative , but you've got assessment targets to meet"
You're an imaginative and inventive teacher, but now you are in the mood to stretch your classes' thinking even further. Use some pizzazz by all means, but do keep within the school rules. You may be the most creative person in the vicinity, but remember - you've got assessment targets to meet and government standards to satisfy. Sticking to exactly what is expected of you cuts against the grain, but be patient. You have plenty of time ahead to show your original talents. Neptune will bring out your softer side as never before, so once you've combined a "gentle you" with being "whizz-teacher", you know you're going to be in exactly the right job for your range of talents.
PISCES "Do not fear that you'll suffocate in the land of the safe and the dull"
With plenty of politics and power struggles in the classroom you've got dramarama, but steer clear as much as you can for the time being. People who've been around for a long time might pull rank, and you may be taken aback at the length some people will go to to stay in control. You might feel you're suffocating in the land of the safe and dull, but never fear: Uranus is set to enter your sign in March, and you'll find you want to rebel and strike out on your own. An unexpected break may throw you for a while - but don't panic. It's just the opening you need. Don't be afraid to embrace something out of the ordinary. Talk things over with someone close butoutside education. They'll discover a side of you they haven't seen before.
Adam Smith is astrologer for Spirit magazine: firstname.lastname@example.org