It wasn’t that long ago that this is the way I felt. I was working part time and had only been at my school for a half term.
“Was is because of the lice?” I hear you say. No. It wasn’t the worms either.
I “quit” teaching because of the constantly moving goal posts, the pressure on teachers to push through uninspiring and soul destroying curriculums in a way that was not right for children. Standard. I quit teaching because of sadness and feeling defeated.
This was the year that I attended planning meetings with a team of people who were not only unkind but had a view so completely different to me about teaching young children that it was offensive. Like, it was primitive. I used to go home and cry. (insert teeny tiny violin here. 🎻 Who knew there was an emoji for self pity?! )
This was the year I got a shit observation because “you didn’t use the worksheets we had made” and instead I took the learning objective of a plan other teachers had told me I had to teach and instead gathered things from the forest to use practically instead of on a worksheet as a compromise to the crap that I was asked to deliver.
This was the year I worked at a school that had no continuous provision.
This was the year that I looked at the class of 30 inner city children and could see that they had not had any continuous provision.
This was the year I spent days and days giving my time to the school, creating mud kitchens and a digging pit, an artist studio and role play in a place that did not do any of this – but instead relied on a space at a table for every child as they entered Year R.
This was the year that all children were expected to paint a ladybird and not stray from the learning objective.
This was the year that I failed a class of 30 children because I wasn’t strong enough to stand up and tell anyone I thought it was wrong.
I lasted a term there and I left with self esteem so low that I decided I wouldn’t ever return to teaching.
Then I realised I could not afford to put cakes and marshmallows on the shopping list anymore and that swimming lessons for the kids might have to wait “until later”. So I applied for a job in a school that I had never set foot in before. I didn’t get the job (it wasn’t right for me- I wasn’t right for it). But I was offered a different one in Early Years there and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
I’ve found a school with a head teacher who has not only belief in play but the courage to allow a curriculum that is risky and very different to the other schools in our catchment and beyond. With people who are kind and that try to learn about current research in pedagogy and care about the children they teach – beyond reading and writing and maths.
So I’m still teaching, and I really couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather do than teach Early Years. Honestly, if they take me out of there I’ll quit again and find another job in Early Years somewhere else. I’ve turned in to one of those teachers that I looked at as an NQT and thought were incredibly silly not to want to embrace the entire key stages. I’d rather not. I’d rather stay where I am.
If you’re a new teacher (or an ‘old’ one like me) and find yourself in a school that is not ready to embrace modern pedagogy and do the very best it can for children, then there is hope – there are schools out there that do. There are schools out there who are itching for change. Don’t give up and be a melodramatic tit like me, but do move schools in a less embarrassingly public fashion. #facebookmemoriesmakemecringe #teaching #iloveeyfs #school