Early career teacher: A teacher’s job is never done

Faris is working all hours supporting students who are taking exams, but he’ll be sad to see them move on, especially those he has been teaching since he qualified. Then again, he realises it isn’t always goodbye…


A busy time of year for all of us, with exams and controlled assessment deadlines looming. Students who have been laid back for the last two years are suddenly looking awake and worried (OK, a bit at least). Those who have worked incredibly hard throughout school look like they are about to break down in tears. But it’s almost done and I find myself looking back, wondering where the hell another year has gone!

It is always sad to see students leave especially as I’ve had the pleasure of teaching some of them since I qualified.  Although I’m sad to see (some of) them go, watching them move on to bigger and better things and knowing I had a part in it is an amazing feeling.  All that is left now is to wait for results day, when I’ll share in the joys of success but also share the tears and give support to those who have not done as well as they hoped. I am – again – fully prepared to spend multiple hours helping those students phone universities to confirm places and, if necessary, to guide them when phoning clearing.

The ‘not so sad’ part of seeing the students leave is the glorious ‘gained time’, or so I thought! This year we have had a certain amount of it guided and have to justify the rest. I know we have got off lightly compared to some schools. But with four weeks left, I find myself worrying about all the things I wanted to have done but am still some way off completing. I’m sure this wasn’t the case last year.

Whilst I don’t think we should sit back with our feet up (well, not all the time), I do feel that we deserve to not be working at break neck speed. My department certainly run themselves ragged helping students to feel prepared for exams – and I know this is the case all over the country. We run multiple revision classes, sometimes at break, lunch and after school, answer emails to students at all hours of the day, allow them to come by and ask questions in free periods… the list goes on.  And, looking to the future, this won’t get any better next year as we’ll also have to deal with preparing to teach yet another new curriculum.

Recently, a few students who finished last year popped into school to tell me how they were getting on. This mostly consisted of how much they were enjoying university, especially the night life, and how much of an experience it had been. Eventually they got on to talking about their studies and the aspects they found most interesting and some of them asked for help with concepts they were struggling with, whilst others were panicking about their results which were due very soon. As I did last year, I spoke to them and tried to allay their fears.

It seems, as teachers, our job is never done and I for one am glad to know the students feel they can ask questions and seek my advice long after they’re gone. It makes our job all that more special. Saying that, time will tell, but I’m sure it won’t be long before I can no longer help them with their questions…