They say everyone can remember what they were doing the day JFK was assassinated. I remember what I was doing the day I decided I would never become a teacher. I was sitting in a toilet cubicle in school, with my head resting against the wall, thinking “I’m never going to become a teacher”.
It was an accumulation of things. The relentless pressure, the significant workload and the protracted journey, all played a part in my crumble. It was a day like no other. I was observed by the school’s behaviour management guru for a lesson in which the kids really put the ‘mental’ into mental maths. At least she had plenty to write about afterwards.
The next lesson, so help me God, was an RE lesson on forgiveness. I exemplified what I was teaching by giving them a second chance to behave. One child told me her “cousin was getting religion this week” and another that the lesson was boring and he hated it. “So forgive me” I said. That shut him up.
Both myself and my school mentor (who herself is only in her second year of teaching) have been non-communicative. It’s not because there is any animosity, we’re both just a bit shy. Stick any two shy people together and it’s not likely they’ll start revealing their inner most feelings and organise to go on safari together.
It was only when she finally looked me in the eye and said “are you struggling?” that some of the pressure was alleviated. We finally began to chat on an even level and I heard myself being honest for the first time in a long time.
The recent prophecies for the end of the world have proven false so as it stands I’m four weeks shy of completing the course. To misquote JFK “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but the school term carries on”.