Last night saw my second Teach Meet, and it was so different to the LGBTEd teach meet, that I almost don’t want to call them the same thing.
The format was faster and a lot was packed into the 2.5 hours I was there. We all stayed in the same room, alternating speakers with share tables. At one point I realised it felt a lot like CPD speed dating; where dates had just 5 mins to get their point across.
With speakers like @TeacherToolkit and James from @Innerscope1 it was no wonder everyone had so much fun. I was in awe of their experience and knowledge, trying to absorb all the incredible suggestions and tricks of the trade. I was most struck though, by James' spoken word poetry. I do love my poetry and his struck all the chords, delivered in an engaging way that had us hanging onto his every word. I would absolutely love for the students to be able to see him and hear him, truly inspiring.
But what surprised me the most about the speakers was the brutal honesty and openness they showed in revealing their own stories to a room full of strangers. Not 1 but 2 of the main speakers focused on mental health and wellbeing and a further 2 mentioned it in their talks. I found myself relating to the depression, the anxiety and the twisted thought patterns of @JamesHilton300. His recovery through CBT echoed my own and it really was a light bulb moment of #WAITT: We Are In This Together. Teachers are lifting the lid on mental health and we ARE talking about it, finally! Could this be the start of a new era for teaching? Where we look out for each other, talk about our problems and solve them together? One can only hope.
Something that one of the speakers said last night has also stayed with me: “Positive people are happier”. In a profession clouded by so much negativity it isn’t important we stay positive. It’s VITAL. I know how those negative thought patterns work, they can drain you entire being if you let them. They can turn a great day into a terrible one and they can turn an amazing teacher into a shell of themselves. So let’s all try to be more positive; positivity begets positivity.
I’ve been back in school a week and a half and already it feels as if I never left. Rushing around all day with kids asking a million questions, pens disappearing at an alarming rate and that one class that drives me mad.
Maybe starting with 5 weeks till summer sounded great when I realised I get paid over the summer, but right now cementing myself in the role of teacher is a farce of kids pushing boundaries. I forgot what it was like having to battle for the respect I had earned so long ago. Most students think I’m supply and that I’ll be gone soon, those that know I’m here to stay are trying to see what they can get away with. And me? I’m exhausted.
I like to have a bit of fun with my classes, connect with them and tailor my lessons to their needs. But right now I’m in full on strict mode. Everything is getting pulled up, I’m giving them rules they haven’t had all year and the battle is real. But if I know anything, I WILL win!
I knew it wouldn’t be easy coming to a new school, you have to assert yourself. Prove you are a good teacher worth their respect (students and staff). I hadn’t even met my department before I started as I was so far away. So nobody knew what to expect. As hard as it is though, carving out my place here, I'm loving every single second. I love the routine, seeing them get something I’ve explained. I love the extra curricular and running around in the sun on sports day. I love helping the trainee teachers prep for their observations. And I really love those 3 minutes I manage to get my noisy class to be quiet.
As confidently as I can after a week and a half, I’m going to say that I really like my school too. I already have friends here, it’s small and the boys are fairly well behaved and the head teacher respects your work life balance; compensating weekend trips with days back or organising them in school time.
Guys, I think I’m going to be very, very happy here; if not a bit more tired for a while until I adjust back to this working malarkey.
Is been almost 2 weeks since I returned home. Since I boarded my last plane and finally unpacked my backpack. I slept in my own bed, showered in my own bathroom and had a home cooked meal. It’s been 7 days of getting a SIM card, seeing long lost friends, organising my memories into a scrap book and being smothered in my parents love.
It’s strange now looking back, it already feels like this distant memory, that I have to keep reminding myself really did happen. You lose touch with home when you travel, but when you get home you lose touch with traveling. It’s the small things that I noticed at first. Always having the fridge full and I could take anything ( no labels saying keep out!), or how quiet it is at night when there aren’t 5 other people in your room. How I can leave my toiletries in the shower and no one will steal them. But those only lasted a couple of days. It really is incredible how quickly these things become the new normal.
Now my trip to the supermarket was something else. Firstly, when we walked in my friend picked up a scanner, I was very confused, they scanned items as they put them into the trolley! Then when they went to pay they just touched their phone on the pad. THEIR PHONE! I seriously felt like I’d come back to some futuristic time. I was still paying with cash everywhere!
But even that becomes normal eventually. It definitely took a few days, but it seems like everyone does it and perhaps, soon, so will I. But it has me worried. If all that can change in the general world, has the teaching world changed so much too?
I’m excited for my new job to start in 2 weeks. I have so many ideas and I can’t wait to be teaching again, but a small part of me is worried I won’t remember what to do or ill say something I shouldn’t, almost like being an NQT again! And another not quite as small part of me worries that I'll succumb to the stress of the job again (I think my mum’s is worried with me on that one – hence the smothering). There is only one way to settle my nerves, however, and that is just to jump straight back into it.
So I’m going to enjoy my last week of freedom while eagerly anticipating my new job and reminiscing about the trip that definitely did happen!