Before you start teach first, everyone tells you it will be really difficult. Like, crazy hard.
They are completely right. But the reasons why it’s hard – at least for me – are different to what I thought.
Yes, the hours are long, the behaviour you encounter is disgusting at times, and you don’t get much thanks.
But by far the most difficult part I have found is trying your absolute hardest, over and over again and it still. Not. Working.
In an early lesson observation I was told I have “an impressive range of behaviour management strategies”. That’s no accident. I have soaked up every ounce of practical advice. Has it worked? No. Behaviour is still completely unacceptable in my classes. My teaching is routinely obstructed. I try so, so hard to get it right. I have “learning conversations”. I do detentions. I phone home. Blah blah blah. Whatever. I am still getting worse behaviour in my lessons than some of the teachers who treat this job as nothing more than a pay check and never plan a lesson.
A second example. I spend hours crafting a lesson on a key topic. I think through misconceptions. I differentiate. AfL is chock a block. But still, I teach it and that hour is decidedly mediocre. The kids aren’t getting it like I thought they would. They lie on self assessments so I progress them too fast or slow. The technology lets me down. And then that hour is over and all that time spent planning makes me feel foolish.
That feeling of the results being incommensurate with effort and work put in is so frustrating. When you’re tired and overworked, it is more than frustrating. It is morale destroying.
That’s what’s hard.