I spend waaaay too much money on clothes. I completely admit it. My friends know it, my husband knows it….even my kids know it. The secretaries at work don’t even bat an eyelid when yet another parcel arrives for me at work (in a lame attempt to hide it from my husband….he’s an accountant. He checks the credit card), and the Australia Post delivery guy just rolls his eyes at me when I do happen to be home during his delivery.
But now…..I’m on a budget. That’s right, Mr Not Another Supermum and I are going on our honeymoon…..12 years later! NYC, here I come. And it’s Summer over there so I had to stock up on a few new pieces for the trip. Come on, ALL the Summer goodness is on clearance prices! 50% off the reduced price at Portmans online….Woohoo!
But it’s time to stop. And you know who my worst enemy is in this struggle…..Cookies. No, not the choc chip kind. The follow your every move, track all your purchases, internet browsing and google searches kind. The one that has meant that since I bought my Estee Lauder foundation six months ago, I have had Estee Lauder advertisements popping up on my Facebook feed for ages….tempting me, willing me, teasing me…..
Even the internet is against me. Every time I open my chrome book (I can’t afford a Mac because of my ridiculous make-up addiction), I am greeted with clothing ads...Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, even the ads on YouTube when I open up a video to use in class are geared towards my shopping habit! Even my 6 year old students know that I shop too much!
I get it. It’s convenient. Why go searching for what you want, when the magic of the internet puts it in front of you 24/7?! Well, when you are trying to curb your spending, the internet is no longer your best friend…..IT’S YOUR WORST ENEMY!
I am trying. I am trying so hard. But the latest Witchery sale, Sephora Clearance….the list goes on…..it all appears like magic tempting me to buy.
So here is my public commitment. No more spending until I actually land in New York. (Actually, we have a four hour stop over at LAX, so let’s just say American soil). For the next few weeks, I will scrimp and save and definitely NOT purchase those cute Sportsgirl shoes that I saw for 20% off in the shopping centre today.
I solemnly swear that…...Ooooooh, Stocktake Sale!
So, an article popped up on my FB feed tonight about a woman who quit teaching after 30 years….for a variety of reasons, but number one….was burnout. And there was one line in this article that really grabbed me. Shocked me. Made me feel desperate…..that I had to do something.
‘A report out this week found that up to half of all Australian teachers are leaving the profession in the first five years’
Woah. Five years….We’re not even lasting five years!
Now, I can’t change the system. I’m not a politician, a policy implementer or a curriculum maker. But I am a writer (of sorts) and I can do this…..I can write a letter to the first year out graduate teachers. Those of you who are have just started, who still have that fire, that passion and that eagerness to just get into your own classroom and make a difference.
So here it is.
It’s half way through the first year and I know that it’s been tough. The teaching job that you thought that you signed up for, has actually become your lifestyle. It’s always there in the back of your mind, isn’t it?! When you are blow drying your hair in the morning. When you are cooking dinner. When you are putting the kids to bed. No matter what you are doing, your classroom full of kids and what you are going to do for them tomorrow….it’s all lingering in the back of your thoughts.
And once those kids are in bed, the time that you thought you would have with your husband…..is now planning, programming, reporting time. It’s when you do the work that you can’t fit into your normal 9-5 day because you have a room full of kidlets who need your attention ALL DAY. Who need you to be switched on and focused from the moment you walk through the school gates, until you leave after yet another staff meeting.
You’ve been told to differentiate your teaching for the kids in your class….who have a reading age range from about 4 years old to the kid who is 8, and could cope quite nicely in Year 7 English. You want to do your best for all 30 of them, but the range is so big and you feel like you are not quite hitting the mark.
Well, I’m here to ask you to hang in there. Please….because your colleagues, our schools and our amazing students need you.
Teaching isn’t easy. In fact, it’s ridiculously hard….and takes over your life.
But it’s worth it.
When that child, with the reading age of 4, uses a taught reading strategy for the first time…..it’s worth it.
When that child that you taught in your first year of teaching, who you weren’t actually sure would even finish High School, comes up to you in the supermarket to tell you that they are about the move to Newcastle to go to Uni….it’s worth it.
When that one parent writes you a note in their child’s reading diary to thank you for the work that you are putting in with their child….it’s worth it.
When you are about to collapse in a heap because you are trying so hard to balance life, family and school…..and then get one of those gorgeous handwritten, 6 year old spelt notes telling you that you are loved…..it’s worth it.
When some smartarse makes a comment about teachers working 9-3 and your husband gives you that knowing look because he knows that you were up until 11pm last night, programming an amazing English unit to build your students’ love of reading and literature…..and then that unit actually works and your students’ do actually end up loving reading and literature…..it’s worth it.
No one said that this was going to be easy. It’s going to be hard. But you know what….lots of jobs are.
But it’s going to be worth it. There will be days when you don’t feel like it is. But there will be more that make you realise that it is.
So please, hang in there. You can either get caught up in what makes it hard, what makes it unfair or what makes it so damn difficult…..or you can collaborate with your colleagues, use your mentor, vent to your friends and then focus on the things that make it worth it.
But most of all, you can look at those little faces that are so excited to see you each morning. Smile into their adoring eyes and realise that they are why you are doing this.