In April, I moved to Outback Australia to teach in a small country school. I am a graduate teacher and this is my first real appointment. I am teaching a multi-age class as there are not many students at this school. I also teach almost all the subjects in the curriculum as the staff size is small too.
It has been a big learning experience in being here in the Outback. Some of my romantic views on teaching and living in the outback have faded away. For instance, I wish there was more variety when it came to groceries and more things to do in general. I’m also not the teacher that I dreamt I would be. Some of it is due to my lack of experience and the other to time constraints and bureaucracy.
When I was a student teacher, I use to make creative lessons that were fun and engaging. Now, I just don’t have the time for that sort of thing. I use to be in survival mode where I could only plan on a day to day basis, then as I got more experienced I could plan a weekly schedule and thankfully now I can do term planning. During survival mode, I just concentrated on getting the students through the curriculum and doing the recommended lesson plans. Unfortunately, sometimes that wasn’t the most engaging thing for the students. Students don’t have to have fun to learn but they do have to be interested in their learning. We got through it but next term I hope to plan more engaging things for the students.
To be honest, there were more tough times than there were happy times. I cried more during this term than I do in a year. I’m not normally a crier but I have been overworked and stressed. My experience as a new teacher is not unique. New teachers often go through a hard time as they adjust to the realities of teaching. I’m optimistic about next term though because I have time to plan for it during the winter break. I’m actually going on holiday for a week during the winter break but I’m still bringing my work with me. I have to mark assessments, write report cards and plan for the next term.