Hard-work is not the main killer
There are periods in PGCEs when you will go without weekends, forego evenings off, and work until the early hours of the morning. This is exhausting and unsustainable. However, the work is not the killer. It's the fact that there is no guarantee that it is going to pay off. It may take you four hours to plan a lesson, but that does not mean it will go well. It's said that you can tell in the first two to five minutes of a lesson how the rest of it going to go. It is extremely demoralising when you were up until midnight preparing this lesson and two minutes in you know it was a waste of your time and the next fifty-eight minutes of your life will go pretty much the same way.
And it's sometimes completely out of your control. Something may have happened at break time, like a fight between two of the students, that makes it way into your classroom. A wasp may fly in through the open window and all the girls flee screaming from their seats. Your lesson may rely on a brilliant youtube video you've found and the internet goes down. And after you have spent hours planning lessons that may or may not work out, you know that next week you will be doing it all over again. Not to mention the marking, reports, assignments you have to squeeze in there somewhere.
People thinking you're rubbish is not that bad
I'm a people pleaser. I want people to like me. But, just as importantly, I want people to respect me. I used to hate the idea that people think I'm rubbish. However, I've discovered that it isn't the worst thing in the world. There will always be that student that is happy to tell you that you are incompetent and not suited for that particular profession. That is not too bad, and you can sometimes laugh it off. When the department you are in shares that opinion, that's more difficult to deal with.
Galatians 1: 10 says, "Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." Yes, it's important to work well and to try so that people have a good opinion of you. This is not so people like you but because you are representing God. Ultimately, you are a servant of God, not man. It was a tough lesson to learn and I expect I'll have other opportunities to learn it again.
Friends are crucial
I've been so abundantly blessed by people from my church. They have provided me with financial support, dinners on a weekly basis, a place to cry and joy. They have listened, cared and prayed. I could not have survived this year without them.
I have thick skin
My resilience has surprised me a little bit this year. But it shouldn't have, as
"The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him." (Psalm 28:7)
There is always hope
Romans 5:3-4 tells us:
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.My sufferings may not have been great. I'm not being persecuted or condemned. However, my hope is great.