The grass really is greener…

….on the other side of Christmas!

Well, here we are. We have reached the end of January and my, hasn’t it flown?

Again, I must apologise that there are such long periods of time between each blog, but if you are reading this as a fellow teacher, I’m sure you are not wondering why this is the case!

Madness…since Day One of this NQT adventure, I have experienced only pure madness. Since September, I have been known to utter the phrase “I am bamboozled” numerous times on a daily basis, which sums up my daily mental state rather well, actually. In a somewhat concise kind of way,the coined term ‘Bamboozlement’ gives you, wonderful reader, an insight into the mind of this NQT.

In the weeks prior to the Christmas break, I felt like I was crawling to the finish line of a three-month long race with the weight of the estimated two hundred students I teach and the pressures and expectations of my superiors on my shoulders. Progress was slow and I had no time or energy to come to the surface. I honestly debated whether it was something I could realistically do for the rest of my working years. Though it saddened me to think that I could potentially walk away from something I had worked so hard for, I felt like I was drowning. What an overwhelming feeling that was! Only when other members of staff came to the rescue, did I feel like the surface was not as far away as I had once thought it was. It was at this point, at this point of rescue, that I realised that it is ultimately not the students, who affect your daily mood and mental state but rather those talented individuals who you work with and who, were in the same situation as you at one point or another .  I will be eternally grateful to those who made it their mission to remind me that I wasn’t actually doing everything wrong (as i lead myself to believe..) and that I was doing just fine and I endeavour to do the exact same in a few years time. Take note- smiling at someone in the corridor or when the photocopier has a freakout (every.single.day) and choosing not to scowl and take your frustration out on the closest person to you can make the biggest difference to someone’s day. Let’s face it, we don’t always have time to have extended conversation within the time constraints of the school day but -as much of a cliché as it may be- a smile really doesn’t cost you a thing.

HOWEVER (and this is a big, capitalised HOWEVER), this feeling of bamboozlement now has positive connotations attached to it, rather than the somewhat negative connotations it possessed in the never- ending weeks before Christmas. This bamboozlement also includes the feeling that I get when I realise that I have given the students the mere basics of a grammatical construction in German and they have produced a magnificent piece of writing, with limited support from myself. Post-lesson I often think I have made an aspect far too complicated and that it was probably the most illogical way of explaining a certain point (I think Language teachers often have a ‘logic’ that is completely incomprehensible to the non-linguist!) and yet the students have taken it away and have simply bamboozled me with what they have achieved. This bamboozlement is also the feeling when I realise that despite some students’ difficulty in grasping language learning, those students have still expressed that they look forward to my lessons every week and some have even said that German has now become their favourite subject. This is what I need to remind myself of when I leave school feeling like I can’t even remember my name!

Don’t get me wrong, there are still points in the week, where I feel utterly overwhelmed by my post-it note  to- do list, which appears to have a mind entirely of its own and adds a few extra to-dos for good measure. Or perhaps, I added those to-dos to the list mid-lesson and mid-bamboozlement, I have no idea. Every day, however, is better than the last and with every day it gets easier to take the daily stresses and such the like in your stride and, to a great extent, shake them off.  Again, wonderful colleagues allow me to do this.

If you are a new teacher reading this, then I think the best piece of advice I could possibly give to you from my NQT experience would be to befriend positive souls in the school where you work. They will act as your sanctuary,when the going gets tough or in other words, when the demands of SLT hit their peak and Year 9 have allowed you to enter new realms of insanity.

Being a teacher is by no stretch of the imagination an easy career path but i don’t think anyone chooses this career under that premise, do they?

Even in despite of this, I can’t truly imagine a different career for myself where I would feel like i’m doing the sort of good that I hope I am currently doing…

You’re doing a great job, even if people forget to tell you.

Until next time,

Bamboozled Manc Teacher x

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It’s a love/hate relationship…but there’s more love so that’s okay.

It’s a love/hate relationship…but there’s more love so that’s okay.

First of all, I must apologise for the fact that I have not posted my long-overdue second blog! I mean, I’m sure it hasn’t even crossed your busy mind, but I did say I would and therefore I have a duty to uphold!

Anyway…let’s get to the point. If you are a teacher reading this, then you have officially survived the longest half term of this academic year and you are hopefully beginning to recharge your batteries for the long stretch before Christmas (I hope you are doing this!)

How I am writing this now, I have no idea. I am currently physically and emotionally void and that’s that. Eight weeks of running between classrooms and after absent detention guests and repeating the rhetorical questions “why are you talking when I am?” and “can you tell me why you are not sitting in your seat, even though I have told you approximately four times to do so?”, have resulted in one thing and one thing only- a brain that has the consistency of a scrambled egg. It would seem, that within this mind-numbing experience, I have uttered every ‘teacher phrase’ I never thought I would but hey, I guess they are ‘teacher phrases’ for a reason! Yet, even in despite of this seemingly negative aspect, I love my job and I still love the career, I have chosen for myself.

Teaching is one long, rocky emotional rollercoaster to put it in a nutshell. You literally go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows with very few lulls in between. Sometimes you’re so busy, you don’t actually have the time to even process and begin to digest what has happened and you only really think about how you reacted or could have reacted to situations hours later whilst eating your evening meal.

Take the last day of term for example. I had a bunch of students in my Year 9 class, who were,-let’s just say-not the types of students that any teacher would choose to teach German to. They were rude, one student swore and I had utter carnage in my classroom, all because I asked them to sit down and get on with their work. And there I was hoping for a relaxed day before half term! This, of course, meant I spent my lunchtime reprimanding such students and therefore lost yet another of my lunchtimes! BUT THERE IS A GOLDEN SILVER LINING. As I was reprimanding these students, two of my Year 11 students (one of which being the Head Boy) saw the situation through the door and asked if they could say something to the students in the room, I obliged. The Year 11’s showed me true solidarity and said that they could not believe that any student would be so horrible to speak to myself in that way and asked them what they thought they were going to achieve in life by treating people like that. They spoke to the students for five to ten minutes and said everything I would have said and so much more- the bell rang and they missed their opportunity to eat their lunch but they did not care and simply said “Miss, you don’t have to and yet you actually really care- we’ve got your back, don’t worry” – I could have cried.

This was followed by my Year 8’s End of Term Assessment, where they all achieved amazing results due to their sheer enthusiasm and hard work. Their reward was a ‘class selfie’ – which they had been begging for me to participate in for around two weeks. They left saying that “8A are the best class ever!” and I couldn’t have agreed more.

I read in an article recently that teaching is “the kind of job that you love and hate simultaneously” and I can do nothing but agree. I hate data input,11 hour days and unappreciative/disrespectful students but I absolutely love feeding young people’s minds with a love of languages; I love working with talented individuals; and hearing the students, who find learning languages (or just the school setting in general) difficult say “Miss, I’ve got it!”. I even quite like the kids who make life difficult, but don’t quote me on that please!

That’s all from me for now, folks. I have a highly important film and takeaway to get to (did I mention Half Term holidays are the greatest? 😉 )

much love and encouragement- you CAN do this!

Manchester Teacher

x

Well here I am, world and I am here to teach you a thing or two about the world of teaching.

Hello wonderful reader, 

I guess you found me here, amidst the fog of uncertainty and negativity, that surrounds us when any brave soul should even mention the word ‘Teacher’ (I shall refrain to add ‘secondary’ to that title as you will all probably run a mile).

For the purpose of this blog, I am Manchester Teacher. I am a Newly Qualified Secondary Languages Teacher in the mighty North West, who would like to enlighten you and perhaps bring to your attention that there is a wonderful side to the profession I have chosen to dedicate my time on earth to.

You may be asking yourself why I have chosen to write this blog and you have every right to do so. I mean, it’s not every day that someone chooses to actually be positive online, is it? If this was Trip Advisor, Manchester Teacher would be a true anomaly, a one in a million occurrence. However, if my little voice on the big wide web could possibly serve one purpose here, it would be that I could make you -as the reader, the curious soul or the potential future teacher-somewhat alter your view on what it is to be a teacher and a happy one at that. In all honesty, I have grown simply tiresome of articles online that project the view that Teaching is a profession to steer clear of- if that was the case, then we simply wouldn’t have teachers (it’s not like anyone does it for the money…)

If you’re the kind of person, who is known to utter the overused phrase “Those who can’t do, teach”, then please stick around as I hope to eradicate any such thought from your mind with my blogs (consider yourself warned..)

If you are currently in- or are considering pursuing a career in education, I hope to give you a realistic but positive view of teaching and come up with tips to keep your happiness levels nice and healthy, as I discover them for myself 🙂

In essence, Manchester Teacher Blogs is my attempt to rid us of the doom and gloom and shine the brightest sunbeam I can possibly muster on to the world of teaching- wish me luck!

More to come!

Love, Manchester Teacher

x