Twelve months ago we were just coming up the end of our first half term at a new school and I’ve been thinking about how easy it has been to forget how tough it all was and was saddened the other evening to see a couple of tweets from teachers asking about when they could put their resignation letters in. Working in schools is different to anything I’ve ever experienced but **coughs** years later I’m used to it all now and genuinely love what I do. It takes times to get used to new surroundings, a new school or even a new career
I’m not even sure the following will help but even if one person gets some comfort from it, this post will have served a purpose. Moving schools is like an unwritten rule in teaching that no one talks about … it really is tough! Remember it is not you! In time, you’ll get that even though the processes and policies are different – it’s not the school at fault, it’s not the other staff – I’d like to say it’s also not the kids but they’re also having to deal with change and in time they’ll get used to you … Change is tough for everyone involved. The overriding factor is that it is DEFINITELY NOT YOU!
It gets easier! I PROMISE! That’s not to say my new school feels exactly like the previous one – I now know that any subsequent school (not that I’m looking to move on!!) will be different too. At the previous schools relationships were founded when I was at a different point in my life and maybe I was a lot more … ummm … I don’t know how to explain … the people there saw me in a different way, in that they saw me develop from a newbie teacher and the journey along the way, and so they had no pre-conceived ideas.
A couple of things in no particular order:
- Find someone you can trust and don’t be afraid to let your guard down – it’s good to do sometimes but be careful of trusting the first shoulder that is offered for you to cry on. Try to find someone who moved schools before and understands how tough it is – unless you’ve been there you just won’t “get it”.
- In terms of the students – they will grow to love (ok maybe a bit much!) you. I found that half term was a milestone – it was almost as if they went away for the week and came back and saw us still there and thought “oh sh1t! You’re still here … I’d better get used to it!” To illustrate this I have just seen a previous student in the supermarket and he was beaming as he said “Hello Miss” and then proceeded to tell me all about college. You would never have believed he would want to open up to me. What we are doing as teachers is opening doors for these kids to go on and better themselves – To fulfil their potential. Sometimes it is easy to forget that … results day I was actually in tears with one student as I looked forward to teaching her so much – she was my shining light. Find a student or a group of students in each group that you teach to their ability and the rest of the group will rise to it or not as the case may be, but most will come along eventually.
- Take the time to relax and stop thinking about work – it will drive you mad! It is important to remember that our friends and family are the most important thing in our lives (Twitter and blogging also helped me) …MOST IMPORTANTLY our job does not define who we are as people. It defines how we pay the bills! It is sometimes easy to forget this, especially given the hierarchy that exists in schools. Surround yourself with positive people … negativity is infectious! My husband would often be my sounding board but at times even he just didn’t “get it” and I came away thinking that I was being silly in the big scheme of things … when in fact all I needed from him wasn’t to offer me advice but to just listen to me whinge. I was lucky (not sure I’d have admitted it at the time) in that most of the time I had Seager to go running to, so can only imagine doing it on my own.
- The year will be very humbling for you but for me, now looking back I think it made me evaluate my practice more than I have done in a very long time. My teaching had gotten routine and lazy as I didn’t have to think about behaviour management but last year year I’ve got right back to grass roots and I am now in a situation where I look forward to thinking about my teaching and how to approach certain topics. Of course I still have bad days, but you brush yourself off and try to make tomorrow “awesomer” than you’d planned! (yes! I know “awesomer” isnt a word)
IT DOES GET EASIER … give it time.