Guest Author: Helen Bullock
This month, our guest author is Helen Bullock who runs the blog, Anseo a Mhúinteoir. Helen is a recent graduate of Hibernia College and writes regularly about her thoughts on being a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) in uncertain times in Ireland. A big thanks to Helen for writing this special article for Anseo.net
Starting Hibernia in early 2009 made me feel like a junior infant again. Being a crowed lecture hall with 350 other nervous faces was over whelming but that is nothing compared to the welcoming speech that was to come. Like any speech designed to inspire, it left me and many others elated and raring to go. Eighteen months later and that feeling had long gone and I don’t even remember when it disappeared.
I’m a Newly Qualified Teacher facing into the bailout to beat all bailouts; a recession the likes my generation have never seen before and the very real prospect that finding so much as a temporary contract job is minuscule. I applied for the post grad when times were different, the word recession wasn’t in my lexicon but it wasn’t long before it reared its ugly head. I had all these plans about how I was going to be a wonderful teacher and basically change the world, one classroom at a time. I may have been a wee bit naive. I thought I’d walk right into a job straight after my exams.
In the real world I’m a substitute teacher.
Being the substitute teacher is no picnic, not knowing what each day will bring causes some issues but with practice I’m getting better at organising my time. And I’m kept going by thinking of all the experience I’m gaining from all these schools I get to visit. I’m lucky enough to gain an insight into different schools and how they deal with issues and problems that arise. I already feel like I have a wealth of knowledge from my months of subbing in a massive variety of schools. This experience will stand to me when I get a “real” job. I’m like a sponge soaking up skills and knowledge needed for all classes and age groups.
It may not be a picnic but I really do enjoy it. The days I get a call to go to school, no matter where it is, it’s as though the sun just came out. I race around my tiny flat finding all my favourite subbing books and folders to get to school on time. My parents laugh at me and keep saying they wish I got ready for school that fast when I was in school instead of always trying to “pull a sickie”. When I come home I feel like a child again, trying and failing to tell all my “school news” and being over excited about my day. Ok, I’m more like a junior infant who still loves school!
To make matters worse I’m just as bad when it comes to planning for school. I get an odd enjoyment out of picking out lessons for classes, getting resources and planning my school day. I’m fairly sure that drives people mad but once I have fun…I often wonder if I’ll still enjoy that when I’m no longer a Newly Qualified Teacher?
But for now being a sub isn’t so bad. It’s not a perfect life nor is it one I would choose for myself if I had an option but it’s better than being stuck in the office job I hated or working in the shop. I’d choose life as a naive newly qualified teacher dreaming about getting a class of my own any day compared to the days when I was dreaming of doing a post grad in primary teaching. And there are certainly some days when I hate to admit I’m glad I don’t have to get up, those freezing days when everything is covered in ice. It’s always nice to be wrapped up warm inside looking out then and being thankful that I’m not on yard duty!
Helen Bullock is a newly qualified teacher. She graduated in 2010 from Hibernia College and regularly writes about her experiences on her popular blog, Anseo a Mhúinteoir. Helen is also an active Twitter and Facebook user and can be reached under the Twitter username: @anseoamhuinteoir