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 Q: I am a 23 year old woman and will graduate this year as a new teacher. I have attended my local university for both my first degree and my teaching qualification. I have accepted a job in a comprehensive school some 170 miles away from home. I have never lived so far away from my family and friends before. At first, I was really enthusiastic, but I am now beginning to worry whether I have done the right thing.

A: It is quite normal to feel apprehensive about your future.

Other people who have been in similar circumstances have told us that they have had concerns over the suitability of their own ability and personality to the demands of the new job. This again is usual, but given that you are a graduate in a specialist, as opposed to a generalist, subject, you should have few worries about your academic ability to deal with the content of the curricular material. Similarly, as you are nearing completion of your teacher training, it is unlikely that you are unsuited in terms of your personality, to the job. You would have been told about this at the beginning of your course and would have been advised at various times throughout if there had been anything that would have prevented you from successfully completing your training.

Some people have said that they have been anxious over relationships with new colleagues. This, too, is absolutely normal. You are entering, for you, what is the unknown. You will encounter people you will get on with and perhaps some you don't. In a large school, there is almost certainly going to be someone in a similar position to yourself, and remember all the teachers there had to start sometime. You may be given a mentor to help ease you into your new post. It may be best to be a listener at the start until you have weighed up the situation. Use the advice of your mentor and ask for help when you feel you need it. It is not a sign of weakness to ask when unsure. You will probably find that you will soon settle in.

Your feelings are normal. There will be times when you will feel down, but they won't last for ever. You are about to enter what is accepted as a period of change, which can be stressful. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it and try to establish appropriate ways of coping with your impending changes.

Best of luck for the future. Let us know how you cope - it might help others.

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