‘Teaching is bending us out of shape — in a good way’

Lucy Kellaway:

I am now two-thirds of the way through my training year and my report card to myself remains mixed. The good news is that I am surviving. Although I quite often go to bed at 8.30pm feeling half dead, during waking hours I am more alive than I have felt in decades.

The profession is known to be exhausting, but is so in a peculiar way. The hours are no worse than in most professional jobs but every second is at full tilt. In my old life I would waste hours cyber skiving, which left me restive and grumpy. Now I view a spare five minutes before a lesson as an oasis of free time — long enough to do some printing, go to the loo and enter half a dozen behaviour points into the system. The reward for such intensity is that the day appears to be over 20 minutes after it began.

As well as surviving (which I count as a victory) I’m also positively good (or at least improving) at various things. I learn names easily and talk to students nicely. I am making my peace with technology, with the vagaries of the photocopier, the whiteboard and the snipping tool no longer defeating me.

Equally my workings on the board have gone from catastrophic to rather good. The way I lay out a simultaneous equation is a thing of beauty.