Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

I’m a hard working teacher. I love learning, creating and delivering a meaningful lesson to students who feel they can achieve something, whatever level or subject that may be. I put in a lot of work to teach to the best of my ability, and when it works, God it feels great.

But I’m a modern-day teacher whose job isn’t really teaching. It’s data tracking. There is no problem with this; we all need to make sure we’re doing the job we’re paid pretty well for. However when it takes over everything else, surely then you’re not a teacher anymore? You’re a robot.

I’m leaving a low ability school that’s closing next year. The last six months have been incredibly difficult, as the kids are disengaged and it’s more like herding cats with blindfolds who are all high on catnip, in a desert. I’ve just had a period 5 lesson and 80% of the students did nothing, they walked around, used their phones, sang, talked, argued, and called me “peak”. Right at this moment, I hate my life.

I hate that I care. I hate that I have paid a small fortune to train to be in this profession, and by doing that have pigeonholed myself into being unemployable for any other job. I hate that I stand up in front of kids who need me the most and want me the least, leading me to hate and resent them. I hate that I have to go out of my way to prepare lessons no one cares about. I end up hating myself because I’m not a good teacher.

I’m moving to an outstanding school in September. I was really looking forward to it as the children seem keen, interested and polite. Their parents are involved and expectations are high. I can live up to expectations. However when I got there all the other teachers gave me advice, always preceded by “I shouldn’t tell you this but…” The children are great but it’s an unhappy department. It’s managed by assessment crazy people, who have done your scheme of work and some lessons for you, but want you to stick to their time and assess every year group twice a month with lengthy essays. “Marking will kill you here.” “It’s normal to be here from 7am to 7pm.” So, although I should be happy I don’t have to prepare, or I should be happy I don’t have to stand infront of ingrates and imbeciles, it’s all reversed. The creativity and passion in teaching will be leeched out of me, replaced by an assessment robot. I think I’ll end up hating myself even more.

I have asked a few teacher friends, whether it’s normal or not. I’m getting the idea that it is. I hate that, too. That people are accepting this terrible expectation that your life should revolve around the school; that their work is more important than your life. I’m only on a fixed term contract for one year, then I’ll be gone. What’s my legacy? Why is my hard work important? How will they repay me? I don’t get it – we’re teachers, not robots, not admin assistants, not data analysts. The act and art of teaching is now of secondary importance. It’s now about data and proving yourself in the form of someone else’s exam results. Where do I belong in this world? What am I really doing, because I know full well I’m not making a difference…

Slipped. Again.

It’s so easy to say, “I’ve ruined it. I’ll start again tomorrow.” Because obviously tomorrow never comes so I can just keep slipping.

I’m fatter than I’ve been for over 3 years. I’m over indulging every day and although I don’t want to, it’s happening. Every day. I bought a M&S meal for two and ate it all, after eating 3 bags of sweets. What’s wrong with me?!

I have 7 weeks until Ruk and Kathryn’s wedding and I want to feel better about myself. I want my underwear to fit. I want to be thinner than Amy, who’s had two kids and is looking great. I’m ballooning and I’m not helping myself at all. Tomorrow we start again. I make the  weigh in public to Ben and hopefully I can lose some weight, as my goal is slipping away from me after every mouthful.

Sugar Fiend

As I lay in the dark in the arms of my boyfriend, wet faced with tears and pity on Easter Monday night, full of dread and disgust, I realised I need to change if things are going to change around me.

“The way you explain yourself with food reminds me of Paul and his addiction to alcohol.”

The compulsion/ revulsion cycle that I go through with food on a daily basis has to stop. I feel like I need something lovely everyday, whilst knowing I shouldn’t. This leads me to think about it, conspire about getting something lovely – ideally with no one seeing – and getting on with my life. However I know it always ends up being anti-climatic, too short, and leaving me wanting more. I revile myself and beat myself up. I’m never going to do this. I’ll never be thin. Because when I’m thin, I’ll be happy.

But I know this is irrational. I know that I need to change. And to change I need to firstly stop.

I did a 10k in Regent’s Park at the weekend. Everyone got a medal and a prize – a Cadbury’s Creme Egg. I love Creme Eggs. But it’s still in my gym bag. And my Easter Egg from the in laws is still in tact. In the box. I’ve given myself a sugar ban, to stop the cycle.

Now, my breakfasts are pretty frigging rubbish – black coffee with no sugar (my tipple is a strong tea with 2 sugars), gluten free porridge with almond milk and a handful of raisins. It’s hard to eat but just about palatable, but becoming more so, which is what I want. Because apparently your tastes change, so if I can limit the damage I can cause, surely that’s a good thing?

Being a very busy girl I may struggle with the social situations but I am going to make a concerted effort. Not to calorie count or to really limit what I’m eating, but reduce the bad carbs and sugar, and eat well. I can’t deal with being fat and being on holiday with other people who used to be fat and now aren’t. That’s the worst.

Loser

2016 has been a busy year so far.

  • I started a new job
  • I am training for my QTLS
  • I became redundant
  • I bought a car
  • I came off anti-depressants
  • I’m planning on going on a gap-yah
  • I’m still depressed.

I was at a friend’s for a cheese fondue party last week, and I was having a nice time. I ate far too much of everything and drank too much wine. I can remember pedantically correcting someone and all of a sudden, as I dipped the bread into the molten delight, the words fell from my brain into the cheese.

“I’m a loser.”

My friends stopped and questioned me; why should I say such a thing? Why do I feel like that? I couldn’t shift it. I know that if you say it enough times it becomes true, but at the moment my Cognitive Behavioural Therapy practice isn’t very useful.

In January I started a new job outside of London. It’s a wonderful commute, the staff are lovely and the kids are  were accommodating, pleasant and all in all a better place than my college in the ends. So, because I felt as though finally my life was coming together, I thought a new car would  be well deserved. I get it next Thursday.

However, straight after half term we were told that the school, due to a cycle of selfish schools, rowdy behaviour, poor results and a poor reputation, will be closing. No more year 10s will be invited for next year, and the school will see the year 11s through to the bitter end of summer 2017. The A Level and BTEC students will be fobbed off taught at the surrounding school and college. So, I come to a school and within a month it has to close down.

I might still have a job, I’m not sure. I have applied to some local schools and even some non-teaching jobs, but I’ve not heard anything back. If I took this job here I would have it for another year then I would be up shit creek. So, me and Mr. C decided that we would go on a 3 month life hiatus and go travelling.

But, I’m still a loser.

I look in the mirror each day and see how disappointing I am. My job isn’t what I want (the kids turned into monsters, especially after being told about the future of the school), and it’s about to end. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, and I worry that if and when I do finish at my current job, I will have nothing to go to. Apparently teachers don’t have transferable skills. I’m disappointing myself professionally, and this is reflected in my appearance. That is to say that I hate myself. The way I look, how much I weigh; my clumps of fat at the top of my thighs that makes buying jeans and trousers a tear-inflicting experience. I hate that I hate my life. Mr. C is really quite wonderful and I shouldn’t feel like this. I have a loving family who are supportive; Mr C’s family also like me for some strange reason; and I have quite a few friends (although if you ask me on a different day I’ll say I’ve got no friends). I’m horrible to myself and I hate that about myself. Why am I ruining my life?

Why am I making myself into a loser?

Embarrassing Anecdote #1

This is the first time I’ve seen a hashtag being used properly for a long time…

Anyway…

I always wondered why staff (disabled) toilets had long mirrors. I now understand why.

On a particularly hot October day, a month into teaching my AS Level group, something just clicked. I can do this; I can teach.

My classroom was set up in a U-shape and I was setting some work and I had to go to the toilet. Whilst in the loo I felt a certain pride and relief that it had happened: I was now a real teacher teaching real lessons. I felt so happy.

Upon my return to the classroom, a student opposite the door asked a question. I sauntered up to her, confident that I could answer that question, and leant over to look at her work. Suddenly, a loud shriek was heard from the other side of the room.

I knew what had happened.

Slowly, very slowly, grimacing slightly, I stood up, ran my hands down my back; smoothed my dress down my body and gently…pulled my dress out of my shapewear tights.

Everyone in the class watched me put my girdle away.

We all laughed as I went bright red and hoped the ground would swallow me whole.

Now, I always remember to check the back before going out to change the world.

A veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days – a sobering lesson learned

Going in to a new job where teaching is innovative, I want to be careful not to make similar mistakes. Appreciating sitting down was really eye opening!

Granted, and...

The following account comes from a veteran HS teacher who just became a Coach in her building. Because her experience is so vivid and sobering I have kept her identity anonymous. But nothing she describes is any different than my own experience in sitting in HS classes for long periods of time. And this report of course accords fully with the results of our student surveys. 

I have made a terrible mistake.

I waited fourteen years to do something that I should have done my first year of teaching: shadow a student for a day. It was so eye-opening that I wish I could go back to every class of students I ever had right now and change a minimum of ten things – the layout, the lesson plan, the checks for understanding. Most of it!

This is the first year I am working in a school but not teaching…

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A Not So Graceful Exit: Why I Left Teaching

karareevesblog

Yesterday, I quit.  In the middle of the school year, I quit.  After fourteen years in education, I quit.  I.  Quit.  Quitting isn’t something I do, particularly when children are involved, so this is still quite difficult to think or talk about.  It might seem an abrupt decision to some, but for those that know me well, you know this is something I have flirted with for a few years now.  I think it started about five years ago…

I was teaching in an inner-city school in Memphis.  I loved my principal.  I loved my kids.  I loved teaching.  Now, of course, there were issues.  Too much paperwork.  Not enough hours in the day.  Uninvolved parents.  Disobedient children.  District mandates that made no sense.  Still, overall, I was happy being a teacher.  I knew that I would either drop dead teaching or they would have to roll me out in…

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