‘Can I please have some more, sir’ – The stressful reality of casual teaching

A month down the track and to no surprise, there is a whole bunch of things that has happened.

I handed in my (hopefully) last assignment for my Post Grad in Religious Education. It’s done! No more study for a long time. Thank goodness!

I have to say, this was one of the most stressful study periods of my educational career. I don’t know if its because I was working two jobs and had to juggle between those AND study units where information was just ‘given’ rather than ‘taught’, BUT it was hard. Nevertheless, I hope to say that I can officially add another subject to my teaching skills. I can’t help but be at least a little proud of that.

Speaking of which, why am I only just ‘a little bit’ proud of that achievement? I am adding another degree to my skill set!

No one told me that entering the shark-tank of the workforce, would test your confidence this much.

This leads me to the crux of what this entry is going to be about. Casual teaching is like the Hunger Games of the teaching world. You have a heap of teachers to fight, push aside and beat just to get your name remembered. I was never good that this kind of competition. I always believed that your talent shines through no matter what. Of course, this does happen but you are always questioning ‘Am I apart of those talented people?’

I have never doubted myself as much as I have ever since I graduated. I have never experienced this much failure, anxiety, stress and struggle. Without sounding too cocky, I have always succeeded. I may have never been exceptional but I was able to surface to the top one way or another.

Currently, the school that I liked has stopped calling me. Why? What has happened? Did I do/not do something wrong? Who beat me on the casual list? What makes them so special?

These toxic, stupid, depressing questions seem to always find its way into my thoughts – always circulating and following me. I find solace when other teachers aren’t called in whereas I’m called in. Since when am I this hateful?

Casual teaching and the casual life is toxic and sometimes suffocating. Those that are entering it should realise this and mentally prepare yourself for that reality.

Then when you DO get called in, how do you stay on the list?

Lately I’ve been called in to a local public school and I have decided to change my mind set about it. Originally, I hated the school and its whole set up. I didn’t like the teachers nor did I give them the same respect as I gave those teachers at the local Catholic school that I liked.

How wrong I was to take such a close-minded approach to it. Thinking this way made me a bad teacher. My class room management went downhill. My ability to teach and care went down hill. If I didn’t care about the school, I didn’t care about the students and thus, I became the thing I hated – A crap teacher.

If I were to go back in the past and talk to my past close-minded self, I would tell myself that I should take every school as a gift. Someone is giving you a chance to be the best teacher you can be for the day. Take it and learn! Listen and grow. Every experience at any school is worthwhile and shouldn’t be taken for granted.

After changing my thoughts, a sliver lining appeared. I spotted amazing teachers in the school. I began to build rapport with some amazing students. My classroom management is still fluctuating between good and eh but its getting better. I am getting better.

Casual life is hard. Very hard. Its been a year since I graduated and about 6 months since I started casualing. I feel like such a baby still! Time is running yet I don’t feel I’ve progressed as much as I have. But what is there to do but keep going?

Not getting enough work? Call up schools until you get a call back

Not getting called back enough? Well.. I don’t know what else to say but WHEN you get called, be the best teacher you can be. That’s all you can do.

Drowning in the negative ramifications of casual life? Find support. Be kind to yourself. You are human.