If you are suffering from the February blues then I suggest you do not read on, as this diary entry is only likely to depress you further.
I think I am having an identity crisis. It all began when I received a text from an old friend inviting me to a catch up.
“Fantastic!” I thought, but wait, it was on a Sunday night. Given that I now live a three-hour train ride away from all my old friends, I decided to decline on the basis that I needed to be back in London preparing for school the next day.
This makes me sad. Looking back over the past year and a half, I have realised that I can probably count the amount of times I have been out with my old friends on one hand.
Apparently I am not alone; I know NQTs who have given up sports clubs, social events friends’ birthdays and more, because their lives have just been completely and utterly consumed by this career we have chosen to embark upon.
Thinking back over what my life has consisted of over the past year, term-time seems to be this massive black hole, void of social interactions outside of the school sphere. My friends and family must think I’m on another planet, as I enthusiastically try to postpone social events until half-term or Easter.
During term-time, my weeks have taken on a repetitive pattern; get up and into school before daylight, run around like a headless chicken for 11 hours, take work home, crash out, get up again and into school again as the cycle continues.
After five days on manic loop, Saturday and Sunday are spent recovering from the emotional, mental and physical strain of the week while simultaneously attempting to be a little more prepared for the next. Before I know it, Monday has returned to haunt me and it starts all over again.
When I chose teaching as a profession it was because I did not want to spend the majority of my time doing something I did not care about. Teaching is something I enjoy and am passionate about but, if I have no time to do anything else at all with my life, am I anything but a “teacher”?
I can feel my identity slipping from my grasp; what if the only version of me left is the one who stands at the front of the classroom every day? I want to be a teacher but I also want to be other things – a girlfriend, sister, friend, daughter.
I am scared that I am slowly morphing into just “teacher” and all these other parts of me are fading away or hibernating in term times, ready to pop out come half-terms and holidays with the hope that loved ones will still be exactly where I left them and not put out by the weeks of neglect and lack of calls.
I love being a teacher and I cannot think of any other job that would give me the same degree of satisfaction and challenge. But I have to say, the way I am feeling this week, roll on half-term.
Our NQT diarist this year writes anonymously and is a teacher of maths from a south London secondary school.