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The allocation situation

Kirstin Parker remembers the initial worry of living away from home during her probation period.

Primary Teacher, Uphall Primary School, West Lothian

In my usual chat with the girls about how time flies and how quickly this year has gone, I realised it was exactly one year to the day that we received our letter from the GTC telling us the local authority we would be allocated in our probation year.

But as I laugh and make jokes now, I remember all the tears in May 2006. And I'm sure there will be many of you in the same position this year.

The dream

My plan in life never changed: I'd go to Edinburgh University to do my teaching degree then move back home to Dumfries and Galloway.

As my final year ended, everyone looked for flats around Edinburgh for their probation year while I thought about moving back home to the people I missed so much. I couldn't wait! 

I didn't even seem to be nervous about the letter arriving as I was convinced I was going home. Everyone else I had known in previous years that had selected Dumfries and Galloway as their first choice had been placed there. Surely I would be too?

"Miss Parker, we are pleased to inform you that you will complete your probation year in"West Lothian."

I cried. I don't cry very often but on this day, I cried like I had never cried before. This was not my plan. I couldn't do it. I wanted to be at home. When I was finally in a fit state to talk, I spoke to my friends and my family.

I've always believed that everything happens for a reason. So I knew what I had to do. I went back to Edinburgh, and off to West Lothian to be a teacher.

The reality

I've loved it! I can't see why I was so upset to begin with. Every time I had a bad day, I kept all the positive things in mind.

Like everyone, I've had my ups and downs. Sometimes you'll have observations that don't go well or you feel like you're disappearing under all the work you have to do on your desk!

Every time I had a bad day, I kept all the positive things in mind. Remember the effort you've put in and what you achieved.

I entered a group of Primary 5s in a football tournament. When we got there, we were the only team without a kit, but the look on their faces when we came second was one of the moments I like to remember.

I was so proud! And their faces lit up when I announced we had recycled enough mobile phones and print cartridges for a free football kit.

Every note from a parent saying thanks and all the pictures and cards from the children, they always bring a smile to my face. And if you reach the stage when you find yourself saying "I can't do this anymore", you're wrong. I've said it so many times.

Full circle

Looking back at my whole year I can't imagine what life would have been like if I'd gone home. I've come such a long way.

I'm lucky to have worked in a school where we have such hard working staff and everyone pulls together to help. It's almost like I have my own little family at work everyday when I can't see my real family.

I don't think there is one person in my school that I couldn't ask for advice or for that wee extra bit of help.

I don't think there is one person in my school that I couldn't ask for advice or for that wee extra bit of help.

I always thought that going to West Lothian was the hardest thing I had ever had to do, but leaving will be a million times harder.

Well, my plan didn't really change that much! I went to Edinburgh University for four years, took a little detour through West Lothian and I'm now moving back to Dumfries and Galloway at the end of this year.

So maybe you did get your first choice and that is great. If you didn't, trust me. Everything that is thrown at you makes you a stronger teacher. I wouldn't have changed this year for the world!