Links / Teaching & Learning

Feel ‘The Fear’

So, my final teaching practice finished just over a week ago, and while it was an emotional roller coaster, I’m glad for the experience and lessons it has taught me. During the low points, I questioned why I was joining this profession. While during the high points, I couldn’t have felt happier. Of course, there were more high points than low points. I’ve come to realise I can’t be perfect – who is?, and that there is always a level of anxiety in teaching. It’s how you deal with this that matters; there is no harm in aiming high. As the well know saying goes “aim for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land amongst the stars”.

Nonetheless, I’ve really needed the past week to recover, re-affirm my passion for teaching and say “I CAN do it!”. The absence from school this past week has made me realise that being in school is exactly what I want to do; it has made my passion grow stronger as I’ve been able to reflect on the practice as a whole, confident that I completed it, and in the knowledge that the next set of delightful (and somewhat impressionable) children I have the honour of teaching, will be mine (in a matter of speaking), that I won’t be on a teaching practice. It will be for ‘real’ – I’ll be the responsible teacher, it is MY responsibility alone to ensure they make progress at school. I’ll be honest, this scares me! But it equally excites me. I won’t feel like I’m trying to impress anyone, that I’ve proved my worth and have been given a job, on my own merits to educate the next generation of children (WOW!). The only hurdle now is to find a job…

So far, my job hunt has gone relatively well (given that I’ve only applied to two NQT pools). I was shortlisted for City of Westminster, and successfully made it onto their pool. Yes, the pool interview was daunting, but a great experience to be able to talk to someone about my passion for education, what my values are and to know they agree enough to place me on the shortlist! Thank you Westminster!

Now, my focus is on applying to individual schools, there are a couple I have seen advertised in the TES and online, but to date, only one job has truly excited me (and the application will be in straight after Easter holidays). Part of me fears the job hunting process; what if there isn’t a school that wants me, what if I don’t like any schools I apply to? Will my application stand out? How much do I write on the application, what do I talk about at interview? All of these questions constantly swarm around in my head – and many unnecessarily so. I’m sure my passion for the job is evident when I talk about my current experience and what I would like to do.

Interestingly, I believe this is also a manifestation of that inner anxiety. While this may have previously hindered my progression as a teacher, I now recognise it for what it is – that fear of failure, but knowing you’re doing your best in the profession. It’s not going to be possible for me to be Mr Perfect – but I can try. I can strive to be the best teacher I can. I need to recognise these moments when they occur and celebrate them; not beat myself up and over criticise each successful moment. As I said at the start, it is this completion of my final teaching practice that has given me the strength and permission to celebrate the good moments.

Related article: Dealing with ‘The Fear’ (20th March 2013 – Times Educational Supplement)

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