Well, to say my NQT year has zoomed by, that would be an understatement. One minute it was September and I was full of enthusiastic energy, then it was December where I was questioning my abilities and sanity, fast forward to Easter, where things were looking up and now I’m here; three weeks to go. And one final observation.
I am nervous. Very nervous. This is my last chance to prove that I am a good teacher with elements of outstanding. If only it could be that easy. I have been told that my lesson this week must be ‘sparkly’, and have lots of ‘sprinkles’. Yes seriously. I have been told to do a Science lesson that is sparkly and has sprinkles. My face must have shown what i was thinking as my mentor said ‘don’t ask me what a sparkly lesson is… but you know…. make it big and lively’. All this was said with large accompanying hand movements.
So now it’s a Sunday afternoon and I have 4 days to go and my mind is a blank. I haven’t got a clue. But one thing I am sure of, is that I will get my good with outstanding if it bloody kills me, because I have to. I cannot deal with the stress of being ‘RI’ (requires improvement), my self esteem has taken such a battering this term, that I have to finish the year on a high. I’ve been there on both sides of the scale. I’ve had a nearly inadequate observation and i’ve had a nearly outstanding, and it doesn’t take a genius to work out which one doesn’t cause sleepless nights.
So, yes, I will go out all singing and all dancing, I will create a lesson that is false, not a true reflection of how I normally teach and go way over the top with what little energy I have left and I will show my mentor what sparkly means. All teacher’s find that they have to become West End performers to jump through the hoops that this current government is setting for them.
Gosh, it’s all so fake and artificial.
Welcome to education under Michael Gove.
We had a staff meeting today. A meeting about how the government is changing the levelling. How we will still use APS points, how the families have only just gotten grips with what a 3C and a 3A actually means, how this is all anyone needs right now. I had been in school from 7.30am and was now being expected to be fully awake, engaged and enthusiastic in a meeting that was going to last until 5pm.
As my mind drifted, I looked around the room and realised, quite shockingly, was that we all looked bad. I mean, we honestly all looked ill. Our headmistress is a young headmistress- she has a 5year old daughter- but today, I looked at her hair that is riddled with grey, I saw deep, deep lines in her forehead (they looked like worry lines) and saw prominent wrinkles around her eyes, which I doubt would have been there if she was a manager of a library or baked sausage rolls in Greggs. (Oh to work in Greggs, where the only thing you think about after work if whether you left the meat and potato pies in the oven for too long today). Anyway, my Head didn’t look good. I turned to a glamorous SLT member. She looks like she plans her outfits with precision each morning, her hair is immaculate and she wears pointed stilettos all day every day. Surely it’s just my Head who is having a bad day? But no, this SLT leader looked grey. Maybe it was just the lighting? No, she was definitely grey. This morning she had been mixed race.
Another teacher’s hair was so greasy it was bordering on obscene. She had no make up on (when does the stopping of make up happen? Year 3-4?) and she looked exhausted. Another had deep lines creased around her mouth, another looked like the walking dead. And I’m not to be excused from this line up either. My hair is just scraped back, I have an unhealthy yellow tinge to my skin and I just feel exhausted. It’s like we have all switched off, like we are coming to the end of a prison sentence and we can see the light.
I don’t know. But what I do know is that we all looked absolutely horrendous, and if greasy hair, grey skin and deep wrinkles are all I have to look forward to, then I seriously need to make sure that I am not in this profession long enough for that to happen.
I actually cannot believe that I only have 6 weeks left of my NQT year. One observation is all that stands between me and passing my NQT year. What can I say? In some respects it seems like a life time ago since I started at my school, but in other ways, it has passed in a blink of an eye.
Have I enjoyed this year? Yes. Yes, I have. There were times when I honestly thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life. I thought I was just sh*t, I was rubbish, I was an ‘inadequate’ teacher. There were times when I didn’t know how I was going to get all my paperwork done, or mark all of the books that need marking or deal with everything that needs dealing with. But the good news is, things DO get better/ easier. I still hope that I will finish this year without any dramas. The TA, Steph, who I spoke to has resurfaced this term and could easily manage to make life difficult for me (post to follow with this on going drama soon), I still have 30 reports to write and get all my files in order to pass onto the next teacher (who is the phase leader- so everything has to be in tip top condition!), but I am pleased with my choice of doing the PGCE.
I am also glad that this year has made me realise that I no longer regret taking those years out after uni to get life experience before starting in education. During my course I was thinking I should have done it straight away after uni, I had left it too late (?!), I would have been over all this stress by now and on a really good wage up the pay scale without all this performance related pay. However, I realise now everyone needs to have life experience, reckless years, carefree jobs, because honestly, I would be bloody depressed if I had come into this career at 22 and realised that I was staying here for the next forty years! Not that I would have lasted that long. I already know that I do not want to be a head or deputy anymore, I do not have the desire or stress levels to chase that. And yes, I will be in the statistics of teachers who leave the profession in 5 years.
Well, fingers crossed I can get out that soon and with my sanity in check…:)