We were well above the national average last year for progress and achievement and we didn't have any 'sheets' in books to tick off - I personally feel it doesn't make any difference at all. I am also very disciplined with my PPA time - EVERYTHING gets done. I work really hard to plan, resource and prepare and, as sad as it sounds, I have a Monday - Thursday tray (I don't teach Fridays) which I place resources in so everything is ready and I don't need to rush around in the mornings photocopying and printing! Organisation is a big part of the game too - I always work a few weeks ahead so I know what is coming up and I can be prepared for those trips, enrichment weeks, medium term plans and newsletters - this gives me time free when, inevitably, problems arise which need dealing with. I think the key thing is using your time wisely!
What advice would you give anyone who felt like giving up?
If you feel like giving up - write a list! What is making you want to give up? Why do you want to give up? Often when you list things and contextualise, you can see patterns or things that can be dealt with instantly. It also helps someone, like your mentor, to see what the problems are. Negativity is a tricky problem because it can really bring people down - surround yourself with positive people and also BE THE POSITIVE PERSON! I worked with a very negative person and the more positive I kept, the more their negativity broke!
Sum up our profession in 5 words.
A forever journey of learning :-)