‘They say that positive people are happier, so let’s be happier, let’s be positive.’ In this emotional piece from MsGlynn, we see the struggle of being an NQT or just being in a new school. She shares her story of how it all fell down around her and how she has built it back up.
Starting at a new job feels a lot like starting from scratch. Especially when you’ve taken a year and a half off in-between. It’s made me think a lot about what it was like the last times I started new schools. If we count training schools, I’ve been to 4 now and the difference kind of reflects my own journey now that I think about it.
I started at my very first school full of optimism and raring to go. It was a Catholic all-girls school and that scared me more than the kids. I was eased in gently and began to thrive as a trainee teacher, snuggly wrapped up in a warm and caring environment. In a way I think this reflects my innocence then, fresh out of Uni and thinking I was in the best profession in the world; I was going to make a difference.
Placement rolls around and the school left me widely to my own resources, covering classes with little to no support. Being graded severely by the HOD and having trouble equating my idealistic version of teaching to this new school. Over the next 6 weeks my mental health took a nose dive and I was struggling to keep my head above the water. But it was only 6 weeks, you can survive most thing for just 6 weeks. Right?
Back in the Catholic school, my thoughts were skewed, nothing was going right, even though most things were going right. Outside of school I was falling to pieces and I seriously considered quitting on multiple occasions. After a suicide attempt I began to seek the help I needed, starting CBT, meditating and a while later talking about it with colleagues. I left there in a better place but not in a good place, I had coping mechanisms, but that’s all it was coping. The joy wasn’t there anymore and so I applied for a job at a “safe” place, a school that was a known entity with staff I knew and loved.
This school for me defines my healing period. I was surrounded by people I knew and could talk to but I wasn’t coddled. I had a job to do and it wasn’t easy but gradually some my original optimism came back. A bad lesson didn’t ruin my day but I still couldn’t stop feeling like this wasn’t all life had to offer. There had to be more. And let me tell you, sometimes there isn’t more, sometimes more is just a different point of view. But sometimes, sometimes there is more.
So I quit to travel and find my more, heal the last remnants of myself that couldn’t be healed in a school. I learnt more about myself in those 18 months than I did in the previous 23 years put together. I learnt social skills I thought I had mastered, independence I thought I had in buckets and patience that had seeped out of me.
Going from this into my 4th and current school was a lot like going into my first school. Brimming to the top once again with optimism. Gently eased into a working life, a teaching timetable, surrounded by people who care and who stated more than once to “take it easy” or “don’t stress, it will be fine”. All the things I needed to hear. It’s like starting again as this whole different person with a new perspective. I’m optimistic yes, but I also know the pit falls. I know it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, I know it’s hard. But when it’s hard it’s also good. Sometimes, now, the best days are the hardest days. So I’ll remain optimistic in my impenetrable bubble of happiness, and hope it continues into the new year.
They say that positive people are happier, so let’s be happier, let’s be positive.