Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Deepest darkest December blues

So there was my first term in my new school. It’s not easy to start afresh. Yes, the staff have been friendly and helpful, and yes, at this stage in my career I know what I’m doing. But there lies the problem I think. I had imagined that a change of scene might revitalise my teaching, with different schemes of work and different challenges. It’s true that one lesson is never the same as another, even if it should be on paper. There are so many variables that affect the lesson: the pupils’ behaviour, their interests, the time of day/week/term, my enthusiasm, and so on. But still I feel an overwhelming sense of repetition.

It all boils down to the same subject matter, the same mistakes in their work, the same interruptions, the same arguments and attitudes about school uniform and other age-old squabbles, the same bombardment of paperwork and new initiatives that are just old ideas in new folders… I’m well aware I sound jaded, because that’s how I feel. And I really wish I didn’t.

One of the appealing factors of my new school was its similarity to my old school, in terms of the sort of catchment area, and exam board, and general outlook on life, the universe and everything. But maybe I should have looked for something that was more of a contrast. But would they have wanted me? I applied to several schools but from past experience I know that selecting candidates means looking for somebody who knows what they’re doing, who has relevant experience and who can fit in.

I can see now why people go for management positions. It’s not just to earn more money surely – it’s also to escape the monotony of teaching the same thing for forty years. Technically, I should be in a management role. But I turned the other cheek and looked the other way when those opportunities were waved under my nose, because I was quite content being a classroom teacher. But now I’m not so sure. I’ve been thinking hard about where I should go from here. I know I should give this job more of a chance. I’ve been trying to analyse why I feel so jaded. It’s been a long and stressful term out of school as well as within. I’ve been struck down with that never-ending cold that seems to have affected half the country. And I’m surrounded by over-keen and enthusiastic NQTs whose energy for new initiatives and activities fills me with guilt because I don’t feel equally inspired.

Meanwhile my previous colleagues have been keeping me up to date with what’s going on in my last school, and their tales of reorganisation, upcoming inspection and low morale should make me feel better… but don’t. There’s something about adversity that pulls a staff together, but I know that’s a romanticised view now that I’m no longer working there.

So yes, there was my first term in my new school. I’m hoping the second term will be more fulfilling. Because now that credit crunch has turned into recession, I can’t afford to take any leaps into the unknown and rock my little boat just yet.

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