It’s YOUR year

Around this time of year when everyone is telling NQTs how the are going to survive, or how they should thrive I am reminded of a blog I wrote during my undergraduate year abroad. In that blog I wrote about how my year abroad hadn’t lived up to the hype that had been built around it. All the tips and advice from other people, all the expectations that had been built about how the year should be. It didn’t live up to it and for a while I felt like that was my fault. When I wrote that post, I was contacted by other people on their year abroad who were feeling the same way, in fact I continued to get comments for a couple of years afterwards from people telling me that they were pleased to have found someone else feeling that way. We all said the same thing, we were surrounded by social media posts from classmates who were having ‘the time of their lives’, ‘the best year ever’ and making ‘friends for life’ but we weren’t having that experience.

Today I was reminded of this feeling when reading all the tips and advice for NQTs and more experienced teachers commenting on how their NQT year was or how it should be. Much like that year abroad experience, everyone’s will be different. Some NQTs will feel like they are just trying to survive the year, looking at those who are flourishing and wondering what they’re doing wrong. There will be those that are thriving, getting on well and not finding things too tough, they might be wondering what they’ve missed, if they’re working hard enough or if there is something they’ve forgotten to do. This could apply to someone at any stage of their career, the PGCE student, the NQT, the new HOD etc. Everyone’s year is different, we’ll experience different things in different ways. We’ll tackle issues differently because of the different contexts we’re working in and the different people that we are. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Continue to read the blogs and tweets, see how others are reflecting on their experiences and what they’re sharing. You never know, it might work for you. However, it might not, and that’s ok. The danger of Twitter and blogging is the comparisons we make between ourselves and others, comparisons that mean nothing and get us nowhere. So, whatever stage you’re at in your career, remember that this year is YOUR year. There is no mould you have to fit into, or track you have to follow. Live your year how it comes, take advice as and when you want but don’t try and live up to some imaginary expectation, it won’t work.

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