It has been a tough old term. By Carolyn O'Connor @clyn40

The festive holidays are upon us and I swear I could almost hear a synchronized sigh of relief from teachers all over the land!

So how was your term? Mine was tough and I’m writing this for selfish reasons. I want to just pour out my little soul about this term. It’s been tough for a number of reasons. So much so that I drafted my resignation in my head at least fifty times. I’ve never felt so low about education and more particularly with Further Education.

  • Everything seems to be needed to be done months before it should be and a million times faster!
  • Teachers are so busy doing admin work that little time is left for focusing on quality teaching and learning.
  • Yet again we are being given a list of what Ofsted wants and some colleges are still insisting on grading internal observations.
  • Students and staff have struggled with the maths and English agenda of the government and we are all at our wits end with it all. I have touched on why here.
  • Finally there is little money for FE and therefore retention and achievement is even more important than ever. This is leading to some teachers values and beliefs being pushed over the edge.

With all this going on my own personal health has impacted on my feelings towards teaching. It would seem early menopause is not much fun when teaching. It is extremely hard teaching when you feel like you are about to combust with internal rage over your board marker not working, or that you are about to physically melt infront of your students. Unfortunately it seems to bugger up your hormones and leave you feeling like Jekyll and Hyde.

At the October break I focused on my family and made sure I didn’t look at work emails or take work home with me. I did take part in the first UKFEchat conference however (see here). The combination of both actually helped lift me out of my negative slump towards teaching. Slowly I managed to talk myself out of being a shop assistant and all other daft ideas I had. As for the health issue, I’m just going to have to ride the storm, as so many other women do.

So what will I do to get through the next term?

  • I will continue to ignore college emails out of office time.
  • I will strive to do all planning and marking at college, not home.
  • I will keep most weekends for my family and friends.
  • I will go to the local pub more with @cherrylkd
  • I will attend Primary RocksReseachEdNorthern Rocks and hopefully another UKFEchat conference (these events are great to help boost my motivation for teaching and learning).
  • I will learn to play the piano.
  • I will get a dog (the cats will get over it).
  • I will reduce the amount of crap I eat at college. Sweets and crisps are not a staple diet.

I think that will do for now. Merry Christmas to you all.