So this week has seen me celebrate my work anniversary! Yes, apparently that’s a real thing, although the concept of being married to my job isn’t one I wish to entertain too much.
As I reach the milestone that sees the end of my first year at this school, I look back and it barely seems like a fortnight since I arrived as a bundle of enthusiasm, nerves and potential. This year has flown past just as quick as the Tour De France will be whizzing past our school gates later this summer.
They do say you should receive the gift of paper for your first anniversary and it seems that most people in school acknowledged this tradition in the form of curriculum maps, observation forms and assessment sheets. Even the students gave the gift of paper in the form of theatre reviews to mark! So generous...
As the month trickles on and the countdown to summer is firmly stuck on the wall of the office (and my big American road trip gets closer!), recruitment drives forward in preparation for our big changes in the new academic year.
I pop to the staffroom and see groups of visitors sitting nervously awaiting interview or clutching their overly differentiated resources for their observation lesson, along with corridors filled with new little faces from the primaries as they begin the transition to “big school”.
I am suddenly made very aware that we are coming to the beginning of the end for this year.
There is more change as our department dwindles down and is overthrown by the arrival of fresh blood – finally, I am no longer the newbie in town. In what seems a stranger turn of events, I have discovered that I will be a mentor for a teaching student on a Train to Teach programme from September. In a year I’ve gone from being the bewildered and reliant NQT to training another, sharing the relatively short breadth of experience that I’ve gained and hopefully guiding her to be as outstanding as the school.
This is a firm challenge that I’m willing to accept (and I’m pushing the initial short-term concerns of it being a hindrance to the back of my mind!). In fact, it’s a sign that I’ve achieved what I set out to do this year – I’ve proved myself.
Looking at the new staff walking the halls on induction, looking overly enthusiastic and a little overwhelmed, I realise how thankful I am to be settled here. Even more so, I’m excited about the future my career holds within these walls and beyond, as I am fortunate enough to enter middle management after my first year.
I walk the corridors with my “best teacher” mug in hand (you know you’ve made it after a child gifts you one of those!) and look at my displays of photographs from the events held throughout the year with a smile as I seem to walk a timeline of all I’ve achieved, feeling a sense of pride as the children greet me as I head to the staffroom.
When I first embarked on my PGCE I wasn’t sure it was the right path for me, now I couldn’t be more certain it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
“Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”
Don’t you worry, Confucius – that’s exactly what I’ve done.
Our NQT diarist this year is a teacher of drama and dance at a school in Essex.