Wednesday, 13 April 2016
As the sun sets, beautifully might I add, on an 11 week term, I begin to reflect on my progress as a first year teacher so far. But, I don't even really know where to begin - so much has happened!
The past three months have been a total blur, I feel like I only just started! Everything has come and gone so quickly, it is actually crazy. I knew the life of a teacher is chaotic, but I really did not appreciate how much so. I have been going 110%, with guns blazing and my heart laid on the table 24/7. Literally. Emails all hours of the night asking for help, up early hours of the morning working out and trying to fit my teaching in somewhere!
The unfortunate reality I have discovered, is amongst all of the behind the scene admin and follow ups, there really is little time for planning and reflection. Having three co-teachers to meet and plan with has it's difficulties, but I have managed to make it work. To build on this, however, I do need more time from two of the teachers, so that I don't feel like I am only just keeping above water.
I have learnt a lot about myself this term though. I have learnt that I need challenges. I need to learn. I need to ask lots of questions. I need to be supported. I need to focus more on the positives than the negatives. The most significant discovery is that I need to remember to switch off when I leave school.
The most challenging part about working at a lower decile school, is the clientele whom we teach. These students come from backgrounds/homes I cannot even begin to imagine, and I wish that I could help more. I have struggled most with changing my focus and mindset to my life, and my wellbeing when I leave school, because I just want to keep giving. I want to help as much as I can, but the reality is most of the difficulties these kids face are well beyond my control. Thus, I need to learn how to put the kids aside when I go home, so I stop losing sleep.
Over the weekend I watched The Freedom Writers, a film about an at risk class of students in L.A,, who had been deemed incapable of learning. The teacher turns their lives around. I found this true story incredibly relatable and this is what encouraged me to reflect on my first term as a qualified teacher. The teacher has given me inspiration and motivation to continue to give my all for my students, as something will come from it. I encourage all to watch the film, read the novel, or visit The Freedom Writers Foundation website.