I have lots of friends. I am lucky enough to still be in contact with the group of girls I went to high school with. I have uni friends, friends from my PGCE and lots of family members that I can call friends too. However, none of them ‘get me’ like my friends at my school. Even my other teacher friends at different schools will never truly understand what I am going through because they are not in my school.
Your work colleagues really are your guardian angels when you are a teacher. No one, and I really mean no one will ever understand/ comprehend/ agree or help you like your other teacher friends. The teachers and most of the other staff at my school are great- they really are the reason why people stay at such a challenging school and last year I was lucky enough to make a very close friend during my NQT year and then she decided to leave. Selfish.
Joking aside, it was absolutely fantastic to have such a close friend during such a stressful time as my NQT year. I had an ally, someone who always agreed with me, laughed with me, moaned with me, bitched with me and at times cried with me. We both started at the same time as NQTs and she really was the teacher that I trusted the most in school, the one that I could turn to, the one that was always up for a drink in the pub after work, the one that I would always sit with in the staff room. We were our own clique, people always said our names as a pair, we were the work couple.
She told me she was leaving during the Christmas holidays, so I always knew I would be on my own the following year, which was good, because I made a conscious, deliberate effort to get close to another teacher who had started around the same time as us and I would go to social events at work knowing I would need these people in a few months.
Because of the intense nature of the last month, bad lesson observations, terrible stress, utter exhaustion, it never sunk in when she was saying goodbye to everyone and we went for our ‘last summer’, however, it has hit me hard this new academic year. Sometimes I do have to sit on my own in the staff room while I wait for more people I know to enter, if I have a bad day I sometimes can’t find anyone who truly understands, when my pay wasn’t increased I had no one else to discuss the situation with and although I didn’t want to admit it, and still don’t, I miss her. I miss my teacher friend.
I have been incredibly lucky, though, the other girl who started around the same time as me last year has become my new replaced friend. She was my second closest friend this year, but has now become my number one. She is the only one I trust 100% in school and we meet up in each other’s classroom at the end of each day. I honestly can’t imagine what work would be like if I didn’t have a close friend.
Teaching is the one job where you need to have a close friend at work, it makes the stress just a little bit better and I’m thankful that I have one.