….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