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Extreme teaching

Gail Rainey wonders if being devoted to teaching is too extreme.

Art Teacher, Trinity High School, South Lanarkshire

Don't you love being a teacher?

Since I began my probation year I haven't seen a blue sky. I leave for school at 7.30am with an umbrella of darkest black up above and when the end of school bell hollers I leave for home with a blanket of gloomy greys overhead. What matters most though, are the little sunshines inside my Art classroom!

I'm not going to lie and say it's a dawdle or that I'm sailing through this important year. What I can truly, honestly admit is that I am absolutely, utterly, completely and totally exhausted and that it's only late December...

Elated exhaustion

No-one prepares you at University for how shattered you become during probation. Even after bringing up two young boys on my own, I've never been this drained. It's a different type of weariness that I am experiencing though.

It's that elated, deadbeat sort of exhaustion when, as you depart from school after a delightful and challenging S2 class, sixth period, you never quite know how you got to your front door. Scary, eh?

But I'm loving every single nanosecond of it. Of course I have forms to fill in, boxes to tick and meetings to attend. I also have 20 really amusing, inspiring, thought-provoking, complicated and testing youngsters in my care and that really makes up for all the not so interesting parts of the job.

I can also now see the sky. It's now early February and I still can't quite understand where August 2007 till today has gone. All that we 'pretend' teachers can now think, talk and dream about is the dreaded job search that is looming ahead.

No jobs, 'might be' jobs, 'definitely in two years time' jobs. It all seems really confusing and no-one actually knows what to do with themselves other than sit in a corner in a darkened room and weep.

Getting extreme

I've come to realise that I've found a job that I am totally and completely devoted to. A bit extreme I know, but when one is surrounded by 20 adolescent youths with hormones raging, day in day out life does get just a wee bit extreme!!

It's also a bit extreme (or "totally random" as my 3rd years say!) when I tell you that it's all about being able to think positively and to remind yourself on a daily basis why you are putting yourself through this fulfilling and pleasant teaching torture.

I know why I'm an anxious, tired and worried probationary teacher: because I care and I know that I must never ever stop caring. Now ask yourself is it the same for you?

Because if it is, maybe if more of us probby teachers spoke freely about our fears and jubilations with one another without fear of being branded a loser or the like, we would then still have our non-teaching pals and we would still get invited out to dinner parties without fear of boring them to tears!

Oh, the joys of becoming a "real" teacher!