In this interview, I talk with Catherine Parker, currently a Secondary English RQT but with 15 years previous experience in the classroom as a teaching assistant. Catherine’s positivity is infectious – she talks about the surprises of being a new teacher, how she copes with it, and why it’s all worth it.
Listen to the full interview here:
Catherines’s top tips:
Dealing with perfectionism
“As a perfectionist, I find it very hard that my to-do list never ends. Having that ability to switch off, is something I’ve not perfected yet – one of my goals is to have the ability to say, “no I’m not doing that anymore. I’m going to pack away and relax.””
You’ve got to learn what’s possible
“You’ve got to learn what you can do – in training, you feel you need to have an outstanding lesson all the time – that puts massive pressure on. Often I’m sat on my computer until I go to bed – it feels like I’m on a treadmill.”
“My husband and my children want to do things and they do without me – I want to get to a point that I can go with them.”
Prepare for the future
“I’m certain that the lessons I’m planning now will give me less work in the future.”
“Where I’ve taught it before I get better as I learn things myself.”
Eating properly and physical health
“I’ve started running to try to counteract the bad habits that I’ve got into. It’s very much in the school culture – Cake Friday (bringing and sharing cakes)… We are surrounded by things that aren’t healthy.”
“I have a cuppa soup every day because it’s something I can have in the class, otherwise I find I was going home and having biscuits and crisps.”
“I’ve suggested to my department that we need to have lunchtimes together, just having that conversation to help each other and sit down.”
“We’re trying to bring it fruit to counteract the cake.”
Looking for ideas
“I would love to see some more examples of great teaching – I’m always looking for ideas at conferences, on Twitter or in books.”
This is the best job I’ve ever had
“I’ve accepted the work-load as part of the deal – I feel this is the best job I’ve ever had. I love the job and everything about it. In a few years, things will get easier and quicker. Everything takes me longer as I’m a beginner – it will get easier.”
Know that you can’t make every lesson outstanding
“Sometimes there will be a lesson where you’ve not been able to put it together as well as you’d like – you do what you can and hope for the best.”
Could these apply to you to make you happier and healthier?
Get involved in The Healthy Teacher Project:
What do you do to stay healthy?
What is stopping you stay healthy?
I’d like to talk to you – drop me an e-mail, Luke@LukeRichardson.co.uk.