The content of this blog may be a little against the tide at the moment, but I think that’s the reason why this needs to be written.
All the little wins.
There are so many in teaching and they come from so many different places:
The parent who takes the time to thank you for supporting their child. I’ll always remember the phone call I got from the parents of a boy in my GCSE class. He’d gone through a tough time and suffered badly from anxiety & had become a school refuser. But I got him through his coursework & exam with a pass grade. It meant the world to me when I received that phone call and both his mum & dad wanted to thank me for all I did. It was so lovely to know that they appreciated the work, effort & care I had put in to their son so that he got a pass grade. They weren’t worried about it being a D when he was targeted a B, they were just grateful that I hadn’t given up on their boy.
Hearing students encourage other students. Is there really anything better than this? It shows me that they care about each other as well as what we’re trying to do in the class. But it does get better… Hearing them encouraging (and sometimes reprimanding) each other using my phrases. It makes me smile & chuckle but it lets me know that they are listening to me & that they are on the same page as me.
Students trusting me with their personal creative writing. It means so much to me when students bring me their own writing. As an English teacher and a writer (although lapsed at the moment) I get so passionate about young writers and developing them. But when a teen takes the scary step of showing someone their work and that someone is me, I feel so privileged.
Students taking the time to say thank you. And I’m not talking about the polite “Thanks miss” as they leave. I’m talking about when a student takes time to thank you for being their teacher. It doesn’t have to be accompanied with a gift and / or card but the fact that a typically grumpy, surly & embarrassed teen has acknowledged that they are grateful to you is huge!
The camaraderie between staff. There is a bond between school staff which many outside of the school building wouldn’t understand. We always have a common enemy: the toe rag who disrupts every lesson; the parent who believes teachers love nothing more than bullying their darling, butter-wouldn’t-melt child; Ofsted; government. You know the old saying, ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend.’ But it goes beyond that, we cheer each other up and encourage each other. Not to mention help plan lessons with each other (even if it’s a different subject to our own) because we hate to see our colleague struggling to find the best idea to deliver the same old material.
“Miss, I finally get it!” Music to my ears! 5 simple words which mean so much. They mean: a child has pride in their accomplishment; hard work pays off, theirs & mine; I did my job right; that student will trust me in the future if we tackle another challenging unit.
There is a lot of negativity around teaching at the moment and it makes it hard to see all the brilliant, amazing and wonderful moments that make up teaching.