I met up with a 2013 cohort Teach Firster earlier today. I was all “YOU CAN DO IT!” “IT’S NOT THAT BAD!” On the bus home I felt a little guilty that the message the 2013ers that read my blog get is so different from that.
The thing is, I’ve not been lying in either case. I really do not regret doing Teach First. A lot of the time I love my job. I’m going to stay in education after the two years, without a shadow of a doubt.
I absolutely adore teaching a lot of my pupils. I’m privileged to know them, to hear their jokes, to have chats with them about their world view, to teach them some maths and to see them grow up. These kids are the reason I’ll be teary at year 11 prom. As I become more at home at my school, more and more children start to fall into this category – even ones who were massive pains in September.
I also love so many of my colleagues, who are really lovely, dedicated people. They make me tea and listen to me moan when I hate the world. They help me plan and answer my stupid questions without any complaint. They’ve stood by me and reassured me when I’ve been a really awful teacher. In particular, I’ve co-opted 2 amazing unofficial mentors who have been relentless in helping me and in shaping me into the teacher I am now.
I’ve only actually cried because of the job about 5 times or so, I reckon? And I cry at Buzzfeed articles for gods sake. It’s not that bad.
BUT. Ultimately, I refuse to wax lyrical about a system that I see failing children day after day. Gimmick after gimmick wastes my time when all I want to do is close the door and teach. I will never ever apologise for or accept the appalling behaviour too many children display too much of the time. The system’s fucked up, and I’m not going to tell you otherwise. It doesn’t make me sob myself to sleep, but it frustrates me to the ends of the earth. I care about the lives of these kids and it really angers me to work in a system that is meant to give them a passport out of poverty and instead is killing any chance of that with low expectations and snake oil.
So, if you’re a 2013er, look forward to it. Your life will change completely. You will meet the most inspiring people. You will have the most thought provoking conversations. It won’t be easy. It will be really really hard. But, I promise you, it will be amazing.