So, I recently found the last post I wrote on teaching (advise to pre-NQT me) tucked sleepily into the notes on my phone and I thought: why did I never start that blog properly?
On reflection, I realised it was because juggling normal life with being a teacher really doesn’t leave for much time to sit about writing creatively. I can already hear the familiar cries of non-teachers on the wind “But, your job is basically just one long holiday!” And “stop moaning woman, no one else leaves work at three every day.” I’m sure if you’ve been teaching for a while now you’re accustomed to squashing the inner desire to frisbee your (still) unmarked pile of y11 exam papers at said person’s head and you’re pretty good at just laughing it off instead – chances are you’re just too knackered to engage with the debate about how you “actually work the hours of a normal job but just squish them into working days and weekends for most of the year” (and then still work in your holidays anyway)… but I digress.
Reading the post really took me back to the summer I wrote it. I had just finished my NQT year at my first school and was full of excitement and anticipation for what life in my next school would be like. Now, I’ve been here for two years and journeying back in time to that summer actually made me realise that I’d not really been following my own advice on the post for the last two years – some of the ideas I wrote about made me smile and still resonate with me – the golden moments and the joy you can get from kids and their idiotic but generally hilarious outbursts and theories on the world… but I think I’ve now adopted a more reasonable approach to this job and my conclusion is this: you simply cannot let it take over your life. A colleague the other day said something strangely poignant (full disclosure: it was a Friday mid-afternoon after parents’ evening and I’m almost sure he was half delirious) but his words watching me mark were: “you’re still gonna die no matter how much pink pen you put in those books.” I don’t really think he even knew what he meant but it kind of hit home for me- as teachers we feel so responsible for everything. We could work and work and work and the to-do list would still get longer. You have to make time for you and your family and friends and partner (and your new beautifully gorgeous (and nocturnal) puppy, Toblerone) or you really will go crazy.
At the end of the day, teaching is a job. It is not your whole life. If that means that for self-preservation purposes a set of books goes unmarked for longer than usual then that is okay. If you need to plan a few ‘come in-sit down-look at these questions-answer in silence-on your own-don’tlookatme-lessons, then that is okay.
I’ve still had my share of “what am I doing moments?” a lot this year and I’ve decided if I’m going to stick at it I need to carve out some more time for me. This blog is going to become a space for me to log teaching ideas, work life balance ideas and general lifestyle ideas and generally get things off my chest so my long suffering boyfriend has some respite from having his ear chewed off!
Thanks for reading xoxo