Partnership London SCITT
Sydney Russell School
Dagenham, RM9 5QT
When I started my training, I was no stranger to the classroom. However, I might as well have been because it definitely took me the first few weeks to adjust and make that mental jump from teaching assistant to teacher.
The first two weeks of teacher training for me felt like breaking in a brand new pair of shoes. The shoes never fit quite right at the beginning but once you have broken them in… they become one of the most comfortable things you have ever put on your feet.
Professionally, I knew that I would have more responsibilities and leadership in the classroom. But at the back of my mind, I used to think that I needed to present myself in a different way in order to assert those new boundaries and expectations. Another nagging thought I had was – TIME! Where was I going to find all this time to teach, plan, complete both PLS and school responsibilities AND have somewhat of a social life?
The good news is that it is not as impossible as it sounds!
I must admit, I do pride myself on being organised and having a plan for anything I do. I also do have quite a good poker face when it comes to being under pressure so many people thought I had it all figured out with all my i’s dotted and my t’s crossed. The truth is: I felt like I was juggling the world and getting things done just in the nick of time. I also must admit that this method worked – very stressful but it worked (and I don’t particularly recommend it).
Despite this method working, I still felt like something was missing.
It turns out that the problem was my so-called organisation, plans and checklists. They were just too harsh and unrealistically achievable; and once I realised that my “me time” and social life is just as important to my wellbeing as getting all my duties done on time, I knew that I cracked the code. Believe it or not, it was the regular use of SMART targets, especially in the first two weeks of training, that brought me to this realisation.
Something I highly recommend is getting yourself a hobby and if you have/had one, stick with it! Do not let stress or your workload allow you to lose out on who you are and what you enjoy! Even though I felt a bit stressed, if I didn’t continue with one of my favourite hobbies, I definitely would have slipped into a recipe for disaster.
One of my favourite hobbies is cheerleading. Competitive stunt cheerleading is a sport I just adore (very different from “gimme an A, gimme a C” as many people seem to think). The feeling of being on a team, competing against others, working on my athletic stamina/gymnastic skills; and the regular weekly training gives me so much mental support and releases many endorphins that I know I need to keep me going. So please, please, please, do not give up those hobbies! Better yet, continue with them and who knows, you may even get to share it with your class or school one day!
Coming back to my point about thinking that I needed to present myself in a different way to set those new boundaries and expectations due to now being a teacher… this was definitely a closed mindset. If you are like me and thought this – scrap that thought and throw it in the bin. All I needed to do in order to set those new boundaries and expectations was adapt/transfer the skills I already had, keep an open mind (at all times!) and keep my stress levels in check so that I did not lose that sense of “me” in my teaching.
Having recently passed the halfway mark of the training programme, I can now say that after 21 weeks of training, I look back and think that those first 2 weeks of overthinking, overplanning, being too hard on myself and anxiety were all just a part of the journey. I definitely would not have learnt as much as I have now without any of those thoughts or feelings.