The last day of term I ran into my head teacher in the dining hall on my way in. “Congratulations, you survived your first year of teaching at Central!”
I said thanks and walked into my classroom thinking, yes I did indeed. Not that I really ever had a doubt in my mind. What I didn’t expect was that I would actually enjoy it as much as I do. Don’t take me wrong, this year was no walk in the park. Actually quite the opposite, but the mind works mysterious ways and maybe that is exactly why I feel this way right now. I got through it.
There were days I came in with a headache. There were days that I left with a headache. There were days that I came in with a smile. There were days that I left crying. There were days I knew I was prepared. There were days I had no idea how I was supposed to do what I was supposed to do. There were days I had had it. And there were days when I felt like I was actually doing a good job. There was even a Friday when I sent the children home still smiling.
I guess with any job really it is hard to explain how it is. I could talk about it for hours, write as many blog posts as I possibly have time for, but at the end of the day, the experience is always subjective. So all I can say is that it has been an incredible year.
Unlike most teacher who start at Central, who usually are newly qualified teachers (NQTs), I had over two years of teaching experience from Finland and a Master’s Degree in Education from a respected university in Finland and still I feel like I learned the most about teaching and being a teacher this past year. It’s not only the practical things that I had to learn all over again in a different country. Stepping into a different educational system meant a shift in educational thinking. During this year I found myself rethinking the aims for education, the purpose for all that we do. At Central it felt that even the role of the teacher had to be re-evaluated, since often I found myself dealing with things that were far away from what I thought a teacher would do.
For anyone who has the possibility I highly recommend the experience I have had. There are a few things that do as much to one’s professional and personal development as moving away from one’s comfort zone to the unknown. Throughout the year, the fears I had when I first accepted the job were overcome and forgotten and new ones arose. Some of which I see myself thinking over now as I prepare myself for the next academic year.
Looking back to my first year of teaching in England I could say many things. I learned the routine, I studied the curriculum, I memorised myself with the tricks, learned the shortcuts through the bureaucracy, and questioned many things, only to find myself teaching Year 1 again next year, only this time in a completely different way. More on that in September.
There are many highlights of the year. The smiles of the children when I read my favourite book out loud to them, all the trips that we went on, the hugs throughout the year, the second class assembly where all of them made me proud, the moment when I realised that a child had learned to read. But on top of that there are so many moments that are from all aspects just ordinary, moments which I can’t even describe because they are just part of the everyday life of a teacher. But even now they fill me with warmth, which proves that I am doing exactly what I should be doing exactly where I should be doing it. So thank you Central!