Right … where to start? I suppose I start at the beginning and see where it takes me .. remember I have blogging tourettes!
Changing jobs in schools is not very well chronicled … ok , so others have written about changing jobs but I’ve yet to read any that tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but! I haven’t read where you are told to expect the highs and lows, and the effect this has on you. Every evening I am finding that I’m feeling the effects of the adrenaline rush as a lesson goes to plan or when it has been surging because behaviour hasn’t been as well as I would have liked.
This week I’ve experienced year 7’s rushing to get to their “favourite lesson” and pushing these on to levels of work that you wouldn’t believe. To hear students saying “my head hurts but it’s a good hurt cos I know I’m learning new fun maths” is just amazing, even if they did beat me 6 to 5 in the Chris Moyles’ starter challenge (but I defend myself by saying it was 19 students against 1 teacher!!!). I have had a much awaited apology and I’m genuinely looking forward to a renewed relationship with the type of student that I know in a few years time will be proud to say that I’ve taught her, even if we got off to a rocky start. All of this is brilliant and what I thought teaching would be about.
At the other end of the scale I have questioned if I am good enough to be a teacher, if I am as good as the next person and I have wondered if I will ever get into the psyche of some of these kids. I have slept on this and I think I’ve found the source of my insecurities – it is amazing, the extent that comments made by professionals can leave on you (so think about what effect your comments can have on a student). These two incidents, happened years ago – maybe because I am “old school” and come from a world where people in authority are respected for their knowledge and the position they hold (that doesn’t mean I agree with everything, people in authority say by the way!) that they’ve had this impact on me:
- One of my PGCE mentors and my PGCE subject tutor mentioned how difficult it would be for me to manage behaviour with my twang and squeaky voice and that they felt it would always be an issue for me. No wonder I have a “thing” about not wanting to shout!
- When applying for maths as my subject I had to “fight” to do it as both interviewers felt that I would be better suited to Business Studies given my degree (I’ve got Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Business Studies from Warwick) and ever since then I have another “thing” – this time about my subject knowledge!
This week I’ve found that I have felt that I’m doing the hokey-cokey with my “comfort zone” – one week/day I feel like I’m in my zone and the next I’m thrown right back out. As a result of this I am swinging from being so “up for this challenge” to wanting to just walk away … and I mean from education (Yep! all of it!). This isn’t just about not being able to manage behaviour – talking rationally, I know most of my misgivings are about “being the newbie” and not being in control.
I have extremely high standards for myself. I am my worst critic and as a result I also expect others to have the same high standards. Midweek I found myself questioning if maybe I’d be happier if I lowered my standards, but as I drove to work on Friday my husband reminded me of something that I used to say a lot and I haven’t thought about it for years! I think the last time I used it, I was just driving to a meeting that could result in me making the decision to terminate someone’s franchise agreement and ultimately close their business. Not nice, knowing the far reaching implications this would have in terms of their family. It’s based on a well-known prayer and even though I’m not religious it goes “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the knowledge to know the difference”.
Friday was better and next week is a new week which will start with me reciting my new (re)found mantra.
Woah … so that’s where it went! Warts and all.
In other news, JustMaths is going from strength to strength and shows a real need for teacher-to-teacher support and one of the things I’m hearing is that some of you like the fact that that you aren’t alone and we’re all in this together. I’m not setting myself up on a pedestal … I’m normal and have bad days too!
PS: I sometimes feel like I’m bearing my soul to some of you and that is just plain weird!