During the half term break I posted about feeling like I had lost my 'mojo' for teaching over the first 8 weeks of the year. I had an immense response from NQTs, trainees and experienced teachers echoing my sentiments and giving words of support/advice. The post was shared on the TES website (see link on 'My Writing Elsewhere' page) and got even more comments, this time from people I don't know at all. I really appreciated it and am so pleased to see that something that I wrote for my own ends, to make myself feel better and get things straight in my own head has struck a chord with so many people. That said, I'm not sure that in itself that is a good thing, should so many people be feeling this way about the profession? Thats a whole debate in itself I'm sure. Despite this, I still don't claim to write the views of all NQTs, maybe not even the majority. This blog is, as it always has been, my space to let out my thoughts and if others read it and get something from it, that's all the better.
So, what did I do about the lack of mojo? First I took some time off, I didn't touch anything related to school for the first weekend of the holiday and I made plans that would take me away from the computer from Friday night until Sunday afternoon of the weekend before the return to school. This left me with the week days which I balanced between seeing friends and family and planning. My aim was to plan all my lessons for the first week back and to have a clear picture of where I was heading for the rest of the half term, something I had struggled to do previously. Moving to a new school with new schemes of work, classes, policies and procedures had meant that I wasn't able to be as prepared as I would have liked to have been before September. Now that I've settled into the school and have half an idea of how things worked it was easier to plan for the half term. I've not done this in spectacular detail, but enough to help me know where I'm headed.
When I was planning my lessons I reminded myself of the sorts of activities I used to include during my training, the sorts of things I enjoyed delivering and that the students were engaged with. I spent quite some time taking templates for quizzes and other tools from the TES to replace the things I lost when I moved from using Notebook to PowerPoint. Whilst taking lessons from the TES, why reinvent the wheel when there are excellent MFL lessons out there already?, I adapted them and added my own stamp to them. The lessons that I planned felt like they were mine again and I was more enthusiastic to teach them.
I got things into perspective, thought about what had to be done and when. I reminded myself of something I had learned during the last parts of my training year - you'll never do it all. I will never be on top of a to-do list again, and I have to realise that it's ok! I emailed a few people about things outside my department that I'd like to get involved in, things that whilst being work related would be enjoyable for me and remind me of the parts of school life that I went into teaching for in the first place.
Clearly I wasn't expecting a miracle cure. I knew that just getting it all off of my chest and changing the way I approached some things wasn't going to solve all my issues, but it certainly helped. I didn't start the half term with thoughts of leaving and I've still not counted the teaching days left until Christmas (although I've been informed it's 20-something?). I'm feeling better. I wouldn't go as far as to say that the mojo is back and we're only a week in, I'm under no illusions, things will get hard again. However, I've had a long week with a parents evening, some stressful days with behaviour and marking and the knowledge of a collection of data deadlines coming up and I'm not feeling like I want to jump ship. That's an improvement, right?
I've got my next NQT observation coming up on the 19th, I don't imagine I'll blog before then but I'm sure I'll be turning to twitter for advice. Looking forward to hearing from other NQTs about their mojo and how they're getting it back.