Career Break Diary: End of Term 2

Good Morning everyone, can you believe we have made it to the end of Term 2. It has been such a strange year so far.

I was very fortunate to get subbing and work remotely with a school in January. Working remotely was great, but I also spent one day in the school each week preparing resources and packs for the children. In the middle of Level 5 lockdown with a 5km limit, I valued the spin to the school each week and treated myself to a nice coffee once I was finished. I also valued being in the school building and getting to chat to other teachers if they were in the school too.

I wasn’t working for the first three weeks in February and I found that hard, I was kept busy correcting assignments etc, but I missed the interaction with other teachers and with students too. I was lucky to get subbing in a special class once they reopened on 22nd February and then was straight back to mainstream from 1st March and I think I am staying in mainstream for the foreseeable, at the moment anyway.

In other news I have also applied for and have been granted a career break next year. Reflecting on my career break so far in January, I realised that I had learned so much abut myself and I have been fortunate to get opportunities to work in different settings. With all that in mind, I realised that I wasn’t ready to return to school just yet. So I am hoping that next year will bring lots more opportunities too.

Reflecting back on the year so far has also made me think of how substitute teachers feel as they head into new schools each week. I have been fortunate to get blocks of subbing in different schools but also had days of subbing in different schools too and my anxiety about heading to a different school is definitely easing at this stage of the year.

I have had a mixed bag of experience this year, but as a sub teacher it makes you feel more comfortable when the staff include you or chat to you in some way. I know that some schools have different subs every day of the week, but take the time out to ask them how their day is going, do they need help with anything? Make sure to chat to them in the staffroom and try include them. I have realised that it can be a lonely day if you are in the classroom and then visit the staffroom to find the staff are all busy chatting among themselves about something or you are sitting on your own.

The experiences I have had as a sub teacher has made me think of sub teachers that were in my own school and made me think of how I interacted with them. Did I say Good Morning, ask their name, show them where the staffroom was or even where the teacher bathrooms were? Schools are busy places with lots of things going on every day but when I return to school I will make the extra effort to check in with others and the sub teacher each day.

Taking a career break has been a time for reflection for me, reflecting on myself and my teaching but also about my daily school life for when I do return to my own school. For now though I am going to make the most of my Easter holidays. My aim is to get a 5-7km walk in everyday and maybe some baking too.

Have a lovely Easter break everyone!

Aistear Múinteoir

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