| Staff Room

Alice Gartland, English trainee – Cohort 2019

Apparently, a teacher makes around 1,500 educational decisions a day – In an average 6 hour school day, that’s more than 4 decisions every minute. None of us are going to get everything right – And that’s ok. In fact, unless you take a compassionate approach towards your own weaknesses and limitations, you will crumble. There’s no hiding behind a corporate style narrative of ‘resilience’ – the school environment will expose you as the fallible human that we all are in roughly 1 – 2 milliseconds.

Nowadays, I can’t help but smile at the spectre of perfectionism that loomed so large in my life before teaching. Of course perfectionism and I are still friends – we meet up occasionally at break time for coffee and a slice of humble pie – but school life necessitates that in general we keep a respectful distance.

“I’ll be joining your lesson,” says the headmaster in an upbeat tone. “Oh great!” I lie, as I’ve just realised my water bottle has exploded over the contents of my bag, which means the handouts I’ve so carefully prepared for the class are no longer of use. I then switch on the computer and the power point is frozen. 30 students look at me expectantly and I look back at them. A smile breaks out on my face, we all laugh, and together we fix it – Perfect.

Of course it’s often when we think we’re floundering, that we’re actually learning the most. That’s why it’s so important not to get caught up in berating oneself with the ‘could have’, ‘should have’, ‘would have’; but rather, create space to appreciate our progress and enjoy what is for me, the toughest but most rewarding work I have ever done.

Here’s to an imperfect and yet awesome Spring term fellow Now Teachers!

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