Education, Life Experience

My thank you to my high school internship

Welcome to Brigshaw High School, where everyone is happy and nothing ever goes wrong.

What is ironic about this statement is that this is how I used to view school. When I was here as a student I loved it, the teachers were great, I had friends and I was getting good grades. Since coming back, however, it’s felt like a different story. I thought I wanted to be a teacher, but these last ten months have made it clear to me that I categorically don’t. I think as an ex-student it’s been ten times more difficult than it would be for a brand spanking new member of adult staff, because with some teachers, they have come across as if they can’t handle it. Without holding a grudge or becoming bitter about this last academic year, I have learnt a lot – it’s been an interesting and revealing experience and I don’t regret taking this opportunity for one second. Rather than take up a PGCE qualification and wasting a year of time, energy and money, I have earnt my way through a full school year, taking in everything I have learnt and feeling grateful that I have not thrown my life away into education just yet. Being at a challenging high school for a year has encouraged me to think that I might look into teaching one day, maybe when the age gap between me and some of the students is more than five years. One of the factors of not wanting to be a teacher is that I don’t feel wise enough yet, I haven’t finished learning and I’m not prepared to mould the next generation just yet; I’m still having my day.

I was afraid of teenagers when I was a teenager and that hasn’t changed. They can be pretty intimidating with their outrageous hairstyles, their strange language (like, what does dench even mean?!) and their absolutely solid attitudes. They’re not afraid of you and if you’re fresh meat with a nervous face like me, they know exactly how scared you are of them. There are only so many times that saying ‘I’m going to report that!’ in a squeaky voice is going to make them laugh before they become completely immune and deaf to it. But as we know from GCSE Media Studies (or mine 7 years ago, anyway), teenagers aren’t all bad; that’s just a nasty stereotype that The Mirror and The Sun have shoved down the public’s throats for years now. Some kids at school were lovely, mature and so easy to help and get on with. The ones I didn’t have to chase around the school, the ones I didn’t have to yell at in the middle of a lesson and turn myself into a shaking piece of meat, the ones I didn’t have to refrain from telling they would never succeed if they carried on in this way. Some actually wanted to be at school and they were the ones that made my days feel like they meant something.

Now, I’ve voiced pretty strong opinions since starting at school and I haven’t necessarily agreed with the way that they have run things. I didn’t agree that as a group of new members of staff, we were constantly referred to as the collective of ‘The Interns’ (and never in a positive way), even last week when some of us left. There was nothing personal about being in that group and it never felt like other staff truly accepted us because they could group us together and use us as one great big scapegoat. I also didn’t agree with having little to no training even though there were a whole five training days. In my personal experience, I was expected to work with certain students who had life-threatening conditions and being left alone with them before having training on their conditions and how to work with them was something that I could never quite understand or get on board with. We did have some training a few weeks into September, but by then it felt too late to me. And don’t get me wrong, the training that we did receive was good and well delivered by people that I eventually got quite close to, but I can’t really forgive the school for not giving it sooner, or even giving me (and us) a heads up.

I want to thank the school for giving me the experience that I gained; to be able to respond to an aggressive teenager without swearing at them; to be able to improvise when thrown in a room alone with thirty eleven year olds; to be able to find something to do when faced with sitting in an exam room; and to be able to smile when everything is gradually crumbling inside. I’ve been employed for a year, pretty much as soon as I finished uni (after working at Carluccio’s restaurant for a week – never again, dear god), and I’ve been able to pay my rent easily for the last ten months without much worry – something that is looking bleak at the moment. I’ve made friends all over again; people who I thought I wouldn’t see again and who have helped me through this year. I’ve made friends with some of the teachers, something that I wasn’t necessarily expecting and I met some awesome sixth formers who I hope to keep in touch with.

What I sometimes feel, though, as I start my new job in York, is that I’ve wasted the last year doing something that won’t further my career. I feel like I could or should have been putting my energy into something more relevant to me, and I just wonder where I would be now if that had been the case. I know, though, that teaching is not for me (yet) and that I want to be my own boss one day. I know more about myself and what I’m capable of so where it’s been a really difficult year, it has been enriching on a personal level and now it’s over and done with I can look back and see the positives rather than the extremely dark days.

Education

Hump Day!

No. It’s not vulgar. It’s a legitimate thing that office people say on a Wednesday because it means after today you’re over the hump of the week. I honestly can’t wait enough for the holidays. I’m drained – so drained. So tired. And I can’t even begin to imagine how teachers feel…I’m just a teaching assistant why am I so sleepy?

Today is dragging though, as they all do when you long for your bed. Or Christmas. Either way, I want something.

I’ve also been looking at enhancing my career prospects after this internship. A masters degree might be on the cards…who knows? Let’s see if I can save up enough money…….ha.

28401-Hump-Day-

Education, Life Experience

Children are sunrises…allow me to explain.

I get up early, there’s no two ways about it, 6am is early. It’s dark when I leave the house – I am literally up before the sun itself and often it’s raining and miserably cold. And this is all whilst I’m on my way to work when it would be much more preferable to stay in bed (wouldn’t we all just love that). So here I am, walking along to get my lift to the school when I notice something. I have some epic music in my ears (probably Taylor Swift, but she’s epic to me) so I haven’t really been paying attention to my surroundings, other than when I need to cross the road of course, but all of a sudden there is light in the atmosphere. And I can see the sun coming up into the sky in the most beautiful way I can imagine. I never used to see this, what with the earliest lecture being 9am which meant getting up at 8, but since I’ve been working at school I have had the pleasure of seeing the gorgeous golden light that tints the sky on a morning. It’s not always golden though, (but that’s my favourite) it can be pink, orange and even a lilac colour if the weather is right. And it’s just glorious; it makes the 6am start all worth it.

School is hard, there’s no two ways about it, the work is hard. It’s tiring when I enter the building or a classroom and I am confronted by a flurry of different alterations, requests or information that may or may not be relevant. All this is whilst I’m trying to do the actual job that I have when it would be much more preferable to sit with a coffee and reflect for half a second (wouldn’t we all just love that). So here I am, working with children, adults and sixth formers, all of whom I am able to help in some way (or so I hope I am!) and my brain is hurting. But then, out of the blue, whoever I am working with clicks, they get it, they understand what they are doing and have learned something. Or, I laugh at a joke with a sixth form student and we continue to improve our relationship together. I never used to see this, when I was at school – I would arrive at 8.30, do my lessons, be good with the teachers and go home at 3 o’ clock. What a life, but now I am here, I get to see all the wonderful things that happen with various kids that I had no idea would go on before. I am no longer in my own tiny little bubble where it was just me. I am a part of this school community and I am making a difference. It makes all the hard work, the headaches and the stress pretty much worth it.

And that is why children are like sunrises. They surprise you when you’ve been in the darkness for so long and they come up shining.

Aww.

10527708_10205293362276364_2250954050580435258_n

Life Experience, World

So Long…for the Time Being

As you know, I’ve finished my academic time at Brigshaw and I’m waiting to go to York St John on Sunday, so I guess- wait, what?! Sunday?! Sunday. That’s four days away, oh dear God. I don’t know how I’ll go on. But all will be fine. So everyone keeps telling me.

Anyway. This evening I’ve been to Brigshaw for a kind of ‘award ceremony’ so that they can sing praises to various people and hand them some awards that have been in the possession of the school since before the prehistoric period, and they’ve also used it as a final goodbye sort of thing. Well, I was surprised to find that I got more worked up than I thought. As I was talking to some of my friends who I’ve known since I was 11 (besides one who I’ve known since I was 3 or 4) it hit me that I might not see any of these people for a very, very long time, if ever again. How can it be that I’ve spent a whole 7 years with these people and now we’re all drifting off to meet brand new friends and forget the ones that we had? Of course, I won’t be forgetting the majority of them any time soon (the fact that there are the odd few that I’ll be glad to be shot of is irrelevant) and then I thank the Lord for the wonderful gift of Facebook. Yes, crude, I know, but you see, this tool has allowed me to begin talking to people that I’m going to be living with for the next year (or thereabouts) of my life. Marvellous! And it will also allow me to keep in relatively close touch with my dear friends from Brigshaw. Technology is not so cruel after all, providing that it works, God forbid when it doesn’t -_- .

So I guess it’s time for me to say a fond farewell to Brigshaw after all these years and the good people that are in it, I will definitely miss them. But, I’ve told myself not to dwell on the past and to concentrate on the here and now when I reach university. It is going to be impossible to keep in touch with everyone all the time, heck, I have friends in Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic who I find it difficult to keep track of, but they never disappear from my mind. I’m certain that we’ll all have some kind of reunion in years to come and if we don’t, then we should just erase the 7 years at Brigshaw and pretend it never happened. Which is ridiculous.

Ciao fellas