Have you ever sat down and taken a few minutes to think about this….”do I really enjoy teaching as my chosen career?”
Amidst all the hustle and bustle of the job it’s very easy to get swept along – no time to think about anything other than the job itself. Your whole life seems to revolve around TEACHING!
This can happen in any area of your life….
Many years ago I competed in sport at a high level and the training involved 5 or even sometimes 6 days a week. On one occasion, quite out of the blue, a spectator who had come to watch the training asked me during a conversation if I enjoyed it – to be honest that simple question completely threw me! I had never stopped to consider if what I was doing was enjoyable…it was something that I did and had done for many years – it was part of my life….”did I enjoy it?” I was stuck for an answer!
So is this you?….have you ever stopped to actually consider “is this what I want to be doing and I am actually enjoying this?”
Is your answer Yes or No?
Well of course if the answer is “yes” then that’s absolutely great. That’s not to say that at times you perhaps won’t be enjoying particular moments or indeed particular colleagues but looking across the whole spectrum of your career choice and perhaps the particular place that you find yourself – there is a smile on your face!
But what if the answer is NO or I am not sure?
Well this is the flip side of the coin and if that’s your situation then we need to take a few steps back, breath a little deeply and take a good hard look at what may be the reasons for feeling this way or for your confusion.
NQTs:- When starting out in a teaching career NQTs can often feel overwhelmed by the whole teaching scenario. The actual dynamics of controlling and teaching a class full time are in themselves quite a shock to the system and coupled with the workload that supports this, then it can be very often be quite overwhelming.
However it should be remembered that this is initially down to experience or should I say lack of experience. NQTs, despite having had training and classroom experience, have an almost vertical learning curve during their 1st term and it really does cause many to question whether their career choice has been correct. In these circumstances our new teachers do need the support and guidance of their school and I am going to couple this with the word “care.” New teachers feel very vulnerable and the level and nature of that initial support is vital at this time. Unfortunately, for a small minority, their school does in fact let them down with regard to support and we see quickly disillusioned new teachers either move schools or consider abandoning their career choice as a direct result.
However, and I do stress this to NQTs, be aware that your 1st year and into your 2nd will be quite difficult as you acclimatise to all the demands made on both you and also your time. But with this in mind, then there is a light at the end of the tunnel and as your experience builds things will become easier.
But what about the rest of us…how do we feel?
It’s again important to remember that we all can feel fed up, disillusioned and ready to quit whatever career we are in. It happens to us all and teaching is no exception. No job is going to be 100% fantastic for 100% of the time…that’s just life!
For many of us that are feeling this way the moment will pass and things will get back to normal and our life will restore its status quo. Until the next time…and there will always be next times!
But what if things seem more than that?
- These feelings that we have become more frequent
- Your job appears to be dragging you down and you never really surface from it!
It’s at this point you most definitely have to stop – sit down and look at things objectively.
This is not a time for knee jerk reactions or to be a victim of our feelings…this has to be a cold, clear analysis of these 2 things
- What is the problem or what are the problems?
- How and where do they originate?
It’s important at this stage that you try to remove the emotion from this process – the instant responses of feeling fed up, despair, tears will not assist in this “cold hard and objective review.”
So grab a piece of paper and lets start to try to identify what the problems are….and possibly what effect they are having on you and your life?
Having done that then have a go at identifying exactly where, how and possibly from whom these problems are arising….be objective!
When you’ve written all these down it’s time to go for a cup of tea and have a short break…identifying and writing these things down can be quite a difficult and possibly stressful thing to do.
On returning to your notes you should now have 2 lists:
- What are the problems that are bothering you?
- Where are they originating from?
It is from this starting point that you can now start to move forward in your thinking and start to make some positive steps towards resolving things.
In the 2nd part of this article I will look at reviewing objectively your problems and the various decisions, actions and resolutions that are open to you.