I have fresh memories of being a novice teacher and spending almost every waking moment juggling:
- Caring for a high needs young family - now aged 7, 9 and 47
- my activities of daily living (eating sleeping, bathing, ablutions),
- Coming to school from 9 to 3 then more recently 8 to 2 and
- endless lesson preparation.
Up until this year, I would spend every morning tea and lunch break, in lesson prep. I would go home to busy family times, then after my children were in bed, I would do lesson prep to 23:00 most nights (five or six nights a week).
I spent the first three years of teaching in some sort of Post Traumatic stress induced depression. I had to work longer and longer hours to maintain a reasonable level of productivity. It was a vicious circle. The more hours I spent in lesson preparation, the less productive I became, just through sheer emotional and physical fatigue.
In 2018, I have turned a corner. I took on a role as Year 8 Year Level Coordinator. I am teaching 2 or 3 classes a week instead of 5 and I have access to a bank of 3 or 4 years of pre-prepared lessons. I have colleagues around me developing and sharing their lesson materials.
My children are now more independent, can do a lot more for themselves these days. They are a joy to my soul.
Life is pretty good these days. However, it makes me wonder: is there more that we can do to support pre-service and beginning teachers?