In the two years now I have been teaching one thing comes up time and time again. How do we find the time?
Something they don’t tell you when you begin teaching is not only do you think and talk about teaching all the time, it also comes home with you, the mountains of paperwork and making and general learning. You will have to take it all with you, you’re expected to. You are going to have to make the time for home life, find a hobby that makes you have an hour to yourself, do a cooking class with your partner. I know it seems crazy, when the title of this blog is Where do we find the time? But just working and coming home and working although it is your dream job, is not good for you. You need time for you.
Last year was a world wind. I was continuously trying to get ahead. I had been given a year placement at a tough school and was given subjects I had never taught before- Art and Media Arts on top of my Drama class- I get they somewhat assume you are amazing at everything if you teach Drama right? haha. Being a Gen Z I had grown up with computers everywhere and knew my way around the basics in Photoshop and Premier Elements. I emerged myself in learning more and more and now I would be happy to teach Media Arts whenever I am asked. The students were so enthusiastic and you would be surprised how much they are capable of. So for a new teacher I advise to roll with the punches! They may surprise you. But it took a lot of time to learn those basics, I did PD’s, I watched Youtube clips, I asked anyone and everyone who knew something about them to get the information I needed to be comfortable to teach it. But as I did this I let something else go. Which was my behaviour management. If you ignore the behaviour it only gets worse. So follow up with it, all the time, that’s what my first year of teaching taught me. It is worth the 10 minutes at lunch time to stop you from hours of annoyance later in the year.
So behaviour management became a vital focus for me and this year I have moved to another new school with another year contract- Take all the contracts you can, they will lead to permanency or so I have been told. This year I went in with a plan, I knew the school’s behaviour management program and I was going to work it to my advantage.
This year has been so rewarding so far and it is Week 10 of Term 2. During this time I ran a three day camp by myself, Open Night and I ran a whole Drama Production- Reflection to come from that. As well as teaching English for two classes and junior drama. I had committed 100 percent. But with my attention being pulled in a million different directions and my focus being on that behaviour management as well, something slipped. For me this was giving feedback to my students, making sure they received that feedback from me to say this is where you need to focus but also you are doing swimmingly in this!
Trying to juggle everything has made me think, does anyone have this balance? Or is it something we are going to continuously try to get right? But as a new teacher finding some balance is important.
My tips for a new teacher:
- Make time for yourself. Set a work-free time whether you say ok when I get home I will not do any work for 2 hours while I make dinner with my partner or cat. Or 3 times a week I will have 2 hours or time when I go to this class or watch this program. Something just for you.
- You wont be perfect, not straight away and maybe ever- that’s something I am still learning.
- BE ORGANISED! Organise for a semester and it will cut your workload in half.
- Roll with the punches! Not everything will go as you want it to, whether it is in the classroom or just with getting a position in the first place.
- Talk to everyone! They may have information you might need later in your career.