This is the fifth part of my Reflection Series – a self-reflection of my year teaching in the UK.
What is something you would change about this year if you could?
This year I moved countries and worked in a new education system. It’s been a rollercoaster of a year, so what would I change about it if I could?
I wish I had found my confidence and my voice sooner. More than anything I wish I had stood my ground, made my thoughts and feelings clear instead of deflecting and/or sucking it up. An employee should never feel devalued, overworked, and overlooked to the point of stress-induced health issues and actual depression. If I’d felt more comfortable standing up for myself, both with my school and my agency, I could possibly have saved myself a lot of heartache.
But at the same time, going through these challenges has made me into a stronger person. I’ve made some fantastic friends at the school, and the agency did get me the job which allowed me to move over in the first place.
But there I go again deflecting. Finding the good in an awful situation. You have to though, or else it would all be for nothing.
I don’t know if changing schools or agencies would have made this year easier. I think doing supply work would have, but I like the comfort of staying at one school every day. Changing to another school, which I considered seriously on more than one occasion, could have been better, but it also could have been worse. We’ve all heard the horror stories of school in London, and as bad as my school was at times, I don’t believe it was at that level. I could easily have jumped out of the fry pan and into the fire. There’s no way to know, so I can’t regret that decision.
I have also learned to stop undervaluing myself, and wish I had sooner. I am damn good at my job, but was never comfortable admitting it. Being female makes it difficult to be openly proud of my achievements (if you want to read more about this, see statistics and that type of thing, Lean In is a website I found by accident one day and it is a big part of my newfound confidence in the workplace). I would change this about myself, be more confident sooner, and encourage you all too as well. If you are good at something, don’t be scared to admit it! There’s a difference between confidence and arrogance, so find that line and you won’t risk coming off wrong.