Sometimes it’s the little things that make teaching difficult. The clock in my room had stopped working, for no apparent reason and I didn’t own a watch. I needed the clock to make sure transitions and ends of lessons happened on time. I had emailed the administrators and asked for a new one but when changing the battery didn’t work, I couldn’t persuade them to try anything else.
And then I came back to my room and my colleague gave me a knowing look and asked me how the clock was. It was working again – but it wasn’t the same one. When I asked him where it had come from, he told me that I didn’t want to know.
A few days later, one of the administrators sent round an irate email complaining that someone had taken her clock from the office and replaced with one that would not work.
This was how my Simon smoothed my life.
My first teaching job was at the school at which I had had my second placement, at which, I later learned, one of the teachers with whom I had been placed was distinctly unimpressed at being gifted a trainee for his difficult Year 10 class. Not that he let this show and we became firm friends. In fact, I can comfortably say that Simon kept me in teaching. Without his support through my NQT year and beyond, I would have left school much sooner.
He team taught with me, he smoothed my way, he let me know what needed doing and what wouldn’t be noticed, he taught me the whole A-level maths syllabus after school in 3 weeks, he championed me when I applied for a job at that school, he picked me up and drove me home, he took me for walks, he told me that I could be really good at this.
In a profession where some colleagues are full of gloom, others full of indifference (for the NQT at least), Simon was a quiet, calm constant. Not flashy but greatly and consistently supportive.
Dear NQTs, I wish you all a Simon.