Tears and triumphs

25th May 2007 at 01:00
I feel like I've been a new teacher for a lifetime. I can't tell you what to expect from the NQT year except it's a roller-coaster. When people tell you it is just as bad as training, believe them.

There have been definite lows - times when I come home and just think it's all horrible and that I'm not making any difference to any of the children.

There are days when pupils have dunked other children head first into sinks full of water. There are Fridays when I ask them what we've learnt this week and not one single hand goes up.

Oh, and one of the biggest things they did not warn you about - paperwork.

Reams and reams of the stuff. Most of it pointless and probably never to see the light of day again. I think I have an entire forest of what is hopefully recycled paper in my files.

But every day is different and never boring. There's the sweet, yet useless, presents the children bring me. Leaves from the grounds, flowers from strangers' gardens and, of course, drawings. I could list other things, like the fact we get paid over summer holidays, have a great sense of community with staff and every day have 30 people who think you probably know everything.

But the best bit of the job is when they learn something. When we talk about 3D shapes and two days later they say "cuboids" while playing. That feeling makes everything worth it.

The parents are a bit of a surprise, too. Sure, you get the ones who complain or argue. However, you also get the ones who are grateful. They thank you for helping their child. They can see just how much their child has improved better than I can.

I won't lie to you and say I'm enjoying every second of it. I've cried many a bus ride. But I do love it. It involves sweat, tears and paperwork but at the end of the day, I am making a difference to these children's learning.

They are learning because of me. These children can read because of me.

They can write because of me. And most importantly of all, they want to learn and that's just a little to do with me

Sarah Hikal is a new teacher in south London

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