Going Back to School in More Ways Than One

The first few weeks of teacher training are a roller coaster of emotions. You arrive for your first day at university with excited anticipation, panic in fear at the sheer amount of work ahead and slump into your chair with exhaustion at the end of every night. And this is before your first day at your placement school.

When talking to non-teacher friends about my first weeks it struck me that I was currently in parallel with the new year 7 intake at my school: I had no idea where everything was and was desperately hoping that the teachers would be kind to me. The new-ness of everything was what made it all so terrifying but oh so exciting. Naturally, there was a degree of reverting to my 11-year old self and I signed up to a club to try to integrate and worked as hard as possible to know it all and make a good impression. But then I reflected (as all good teachers do) and thought about what I would say to a Year 7 student doing exactly what I was: don’t push yourself. If I knew it all then I wouldn’t have committed to a year of learning and self-improvement, and that elusive feeling of being on top of everything takes time, organisation and patience.

Luckily, just like a Year 7, we now have the opportunity to make new friends and craft a support network for ourselves. In the Euler diagram of teacher groups there are many places to go to share ideas, stories and fears. My curriculum group are there to debate the finer points of exactly why one might consider rectangles over circles to model proportion problems, the other interns at my school are friends to share the early morning bus ride with: just like allies found in our school days, we find them again as we return to school.

So, as we battle on into a term of darkening mornings and earlier nights I encourage you to see yourself as a Year 7: starting the beginning of your school career with so much to learn but also with an excitement to learn and get involved. Seek the support of your mentors and peers, be unafraid to make mistakes and somehow find a way to learn how to write an essay after doing maths for many years. Writing a blog helps.

Beth Graham