Hello there. Can you believe that it’s been nearly a year since I last blogged? If you are still here and reading this then, wow, thank you for not deserting my little space of the world wide web.
So where have I been? Well…. for some completely nonsensical reason I decided to embark on a Secondary School PGCE teaching course in order to become an English teacher. Seriously, who on earth in their right mind would decide to retrain in their 30’s and complete a really tough course whilst trying to juggle parenting two little wild boys, having chosen to marry a man who spends over half the year working at sea! Can’t be as hard as training to become a lawyer right? Ermmmmm wrong.
Having trained to become a commercial lawyer for a large law firm, which was a pretty gruelling process, I can officially confirm that the teacher training process is way more emotionally brutal and I massively underestimated how hard I would find it to juggle so many plates!
Every lesson felt like an interview and the observations, oh the observations, the criticisms, the pre-loaded mentor questions of, “Well how do you think that lesson went?”
To which I would hesitantly respond, “Errr, ok? no, bad? no, very, very bad? horrendous? I don’t know!!!”
And then my mentor would so soothingly say, “don’t worry we’ve all had lessons like that, no one got injured”, or “I think it was your best lesson yet”.
I’ve had to get used to being very thoroughly scrutinised and I quickly realised that perfection is not achievable; a brilliant lesson for one observer is an appalling one for another. Fun hey, oh the wonderful buzz you get of being constantly kept on your toes.
And yet, to become a lawyer, I was paid a salary (yes I know that some trainee teachers get a pretty impressive grant… English trainees don’t). I had no dependants back then and I could just crawl out of the office straight into bed, (via buckets of wine). Not only has this year cost me an unthinkable amount in childcare, I’ve had to juggle life with the boys, which really wouldn’t have been possible without my Saint of a mother-in-law. There have been nights when I’ve had poorly puking limpets clinging to me and then I’ve had to get up and perform for
a delightful audience of receptive teenagers.
Teenagers… what a fabulous species they are! No, I am actually serious. Yes they can be lazy, they can laugh rudely in your face, roll their eyes, forget everything they’ve EVER learnt (like what a capital letter is), BUT, when then make progress because of you, well that really is something! They are also hilarious and resilient and see the world in a way which we, as adults, should appreciate more than we do.
That being said, the hours that teachers work are not comparable to many commercial professions. I’ve not witnessed many teachers working past 5.00pm every single day (which is a half day for most law firms). Teachers don’t answer e-mails at 3.00am (because they have their e-mail notifications on vibrate under their pillow) and I highly doubt whether they work on Christmas Day. I’m sure you’re thinking that this is relative to the pay. Well to some extent it is.. and I think this is rightly so as most lawyers get less than 30 days holiday a year and even then, they aren’t be able to resist checking and responding to emails. However, many qualified lawyers start on a salary not far off that of a Newly Qualified Teacher and yet they don’t have 13 weeks holiday a year. Many of those lawyers can be found advising their clients in Police cells in the middle of the night, or providing 24 hour support and advice to vulnerable clients who have been taken advantage of in the most appalling of ways.
Yes, yes, I do know that teachers work hard, they do. And many teachers are wonderful, inspirational role models. Some are not! I’m not going to get into a controversial post here about which professions work harder than others or give you my opinions as to why teachers feel they have such a difficult time (which some undoubtedly do), but that’s for another day, another platform.
Anyway, I’ve got through it. I can now officially teach English, Law or Business Studies up to A-Level and I don’t often blow my own trumpet, but I’m pretty proud of myself for having survived!
And now I can spend the Summer with these crazies. Going forward I’ll be working fairly part time, which will mean that I can get back to my hobbies and start writing and reading again.
I cannot bloody wait!