Monday, 9 December 2013
Today I did one of the things that has had me most nervous since the day I gave birth to little man, I applied to an agency for teaching posts. I sent my application in the early hours of the morning and by 9.30am I had already received 3 calls from different agencies asking me what my preferences were.
What key stage do you want to work in?
How many days?
What daily rate are you looking for?
Are you willing to relocate?
Some of these things I hadn't even thought about, I just know that I need to get back on the saddle and take my metaphorical horse jumping over the obstacles that have caused me to fear going 'back to school'. I had a mixture of satisfaction and absolute terror after having been asked if I'd like to go for a trial lesson with the possibility of a January start.
My last experience in teaching was one that at times drove me into the depths of depression and at other times holds some of my happiest memories. I never for a second stopped enjoying being in the classroom and around the children. I had fantastic teaching assistants and some great year group colleagues but what I didn't enjoy was the immense pressure to meet invisible standards.
When I say invisible standards, of course every teacher knows that there are standards you must follow, strategies you must put in place, preparation, planning, marking, assessing, teaching to meet the needs of your whole class. You must undergo being observed, attend training, be reflective in your teaching. Nevertheless everyone that walks into your classroom, though they have the teachers standards as a reference, is looking for something different.
There is an invisible line in the minds of your observer that will get you a tick in that good or outstanding box and when you are in a failing school where management can't or won't support you to make sure you and the children are at your best that invisible line is more of a brick wall.
I'm used to challenging children, I've had more than my fair share of objects hurtled at me from across the room, displays ripped from the walls a couple of kicks and some 'decorative' language. In fact I'm good with challenging children, they come in my classroom one way and by the end of the year, although still somewhat challenging, they have strategies in place to help them cope and learn better.
When you just come back into work having been signed off the last thing you need is for a 'challenging' child to be transferred into your classroom rather than that of the year leader who although has tons of years more experience is suddenly, "Just not the right person to best meet the child's needs."
As scary as it is to jump back into the world of teaching, there is nothing I love more than seeing a child develop and learn knowing that I have played a part in that process.