Juggling

I’ve recently started to properly consider how to implement all the tips and techniques (including what not to do) that I’ve gathered from observations. It’s all rather overwhelming. There are so many different things going on in a lesson at once. An observer has the luxury of being able to comment on the one area out of 70 that might need improvement; unfortunately the teacher can only be in one place at a time.

Teaching a lesson really does seem like a juggling act to me. There are so many things to deal with and each one is an opportunity you can mess up and thus ruin someone’s day.

For example, last week I worked through part of a worksheet with a pupil who was completely lost; he got the hang of it and finished it quickly and accurately. I was pleased and proud of him. When he called out “Sir I’ve got it!”, the teacher replied, “yeah, it wasn’t hard, was it?”.

Watching his facial expression change from joy to sadness was a little heartbreaking. The teacher didn’t see. He hadn’t said that so as to be mean. It was just an offhand, automatic type response. I have to admit, I judged the teacher for it.

Now I look back and think what the hell was I doing?! That teacher had a bottom set class focussed and well behaved for an hour on a summer’s day, something I don’t think I could do right now.

And yet..

I still want to be perfect. I still want to be the teacher who never makes a child feel stupid or worthless and who manages to pack their brains every lesson to let them achieve their potential.

I reckon I have to get used to the idea that while I’m still in the early stages of learning how to teach I will not meet my own expectations. I’m sure that will make me angry and frustrated at myself. Somehow I will have to come to terms with that.

And just as much for me as for my pupils, I need to remember that every day is a new chance to get it right.

Go forth and opine