, Well, i’ve been absolutely rushed off my feet and haven’t even had time to breathe let alone write anything on here. PGCE people- you’ll just be starting your first placement- enjoy it! It really is the easiest it’ll ever be (but not the most enjoyable, you’ll be pleased to hear).
Before I started, everyone told me that the ‘to do’ list will never be done and if I just accept that it’ll be fine. How true were those words. I think teaching is the only job where you start with 6 things on your to do list and end up with 23. There is never a free evening, there is never not anything to do, but as long as you realise this and know that it’s ok, you’ll be fine.
Well, it started about two weeks ago. I felt fine, yes, I did feel like i was drowning, but not that I was stressed. i don’t do stressed, I even told the head that during my interview. ‘i’m really lucky, i don’t get stressed.’ I might not get stressed, but my body does. It started really subtlely, my elbows were a little itchy, then weirdly my legs and my neck. i didn’t think anything of it until one morning I noticed that I had horrible, ugly red patches all over my legs, thighs, elbows, arms, and neck! The itching was getting so bad that I was scratching until the patches began to weep (I know, too much information). After a trip to the doctors and an expensive dermatologist- it turns out that i have developed stress related eczema! Great! Never have I had eczema in my life, never have i had to think about covering my legs or arms before- it’s just horrible. Thank God it’s winter and i’m wearing trousers and jumpers anyway, and thankfully the patches are going on my arms and neck (legs getting better, but still couldn’t go out in bare legs on a night out yet ). But it’s just really strange how the body reacts to stress, whether it’s conscious or sub conscious.
My dermatologist said that the cure will be yoga or meditation- as if I have time to sit in a dark room and do nothing for an hour?! (I have done yoga for years when I had a life before teaching- but at the mo, I really don’t have time. I know I should make time).
I think the trigger for my stress was the feedback from my first lesson observation- realising that I had to change how I had been doing things, we had a book scrutinity- 20mins notice- and I (along with the other NQT and phase teacher) had a stern talking to about how we hadn’t differentiated in History, PE, Geography etc. I know I should differentiate in every lesson, but when you’re class are all low or I’m doing a creative lesson- I haven’t got the time/ support to have children doing four sets of work in one lesson. Plus, when I started the school said that for those topics the children should be in mixed ability groups- so how can you work with a group of children when they are all doing different work? i don’t know- but I sure as hell better learn!
So, I’ve decided I’m not going to be a ‘stressy’ teacher. I’m going to:
1. Go to bed early- and switch off 30mins before hand. Watch crap TV/ read a book/ magazine.
2. Get organised. Know exactly what each group of children are going to be doing in the lessons beforehand. So I can just give the worksheets/ learning objectives to the TA to stick in.
3. Get my bag/ clothes ready the night before. It really is a stress in the morning when I don’t know what to wear, the time to leave the house is on countdown and I’m making lunch and looking for that story book to take into class.
4. Stay late (as in 5.30-6ish) one evening a week to get on top of marking so that’s off my mind.
5. Have things to look forward to outside of work. I’m having lunch with friends this Sat, then date night with the other half next week and SLEEP during half term!
I know, us NQTs can get through this year. I spoke to the other students from my PGCE and 4 said they want to quit and become TAs or something and that they have been bursting into tears at home.
Well, at least I don’t feel like that, and I still genuinely love going into school each morning 🙂