Things were hard when I was a trainee, partly because training is hard and partly because I was always overly keen to do more and more things. In my first year, still a trainee, I would take my marking home – sometimes in a suitcase on wheels – and would finish my working day at about half past midnight. I tutored on the weekends, partly because of the need for a bit of extra money, but mostly because I enjoyed doing it. I gave up my play times to play basketball with the kids, and I arrived at 7am to work out, taking some basketball practice most days.
Next year was harder because the kids were trickier. I rapidly realised I had no idea of how to support SEN pupils, and suddenly realised that my behaviour management was weak and I only survived my first year so easily because the class I had were godsent. I worked every hour and was told I needed to improve my handwriting. Workload built up and I had to cancel my holiday in order to get through my year. I stayed up even later.
The third year I decided I needed more. I became a subject coordinator and also applied for a Masters degree. As well as my marking mountain, I now had to contend with evening lectures. I got up at half 6, was at work at 7, left at 5, had lectures from 6 til 8:30, then worked on my essays at university in the library until 11pm, then got the tube home. I also had my Geography role, and decided to relaunch the whole curriculum and plan a special themed week, so I planned stuff for each year group, and organised for a whole school Jamboree, attended by a spoof rapper and organised a residential visit in the forest.
The fourth year, I took on an additional coordinator responsibility, continued with the Masters work, continued my full time teaching and the camping and I became a mentor. I also began doing facilitation stuff for TeachFirst.
This year, I am completing my Masters with a big old research project, have a new role as Assistant Director of our Teaching School, I am still doing a lot of teaching but across different year groups, am mentoring a School Direct participant, am presenting at loads of conferences.
I felt stressed, anxious and know that it was my fault. My desire for novelty and change has led me to spread myself so thinly, there is nothing left in the jar.
Because then I took on more, and decided to write a book as well. And suddenly… The mists cleared. I had reached 164 mph.