The beginning of this year has been tough. My class are a challenging bunch for myriad reasons and I no longer have my amazing, sanity-saving TA. It’s draining and demoralising to constantly see needs that you can’t meet; to feel like the things you really believe in aren’t working with this class; to feel you’re losing it. As a teacher, it’s so easy to feel you’re only as good as your last lesson and if that wasn’t great, and the one before that wasn’t great either, you must be failing.
I’m particularly dreading being observed after half term. Last time I was watched teaching, the observer commented that my children were eating from the palm of my hand. They were. (Thank you, Neil Gaiman, for Wolves in the Wall.) This class aren’t. (Yet.) The relationship between class and teacher takes time to strengthen and develop, particularly for this group of children. And I wonder – does my (or anyone’s) teaching always seem worse at the start of the year because that relationship hasn’t had time to establish yet?
Added into this mix was Twitter. There are some incredibly supportive, kind and genuinely lovely people on Twitter. Then there are the people who are on there to tell everyone else they’re doing it wrong, their expectations are too low, they’re not teaching the ‘right’ way, it’s their own fault their workload is so heavy, they’re not one of the ‘cool’ people. Do they realise that most ordinary teachers are just busy trying to survive and do the best they can, often in hard situations? Plus, I’m good enough at feeling rubbish by myself, I don’t need Twitter to help me with that.
Anyway, I got tired of reading it all. I got tired of wading through all the rubbish to find the gems. I should get better at curating my feed, but I just didn’t have the energy. So I took a break for a while and it felt really refreshing.
Despite all this, there have been some glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel. I have great senior leaders in school who let me cry in their office and don’t think less of me. I have great friends who let me cry in their house and don’t think less of me. I have great family who let me cry on the phone and don’t think less of me. My class are starting (albeit in teeny, tiny baby steps) to trust me and invest in our relationship. They did a great job showing year 2 children around their pop-up Saxon museum this week. They also have huge creative flair and potential which bodes well for mantle of the expert-style learning.
And when I dipped a little toe back into Twitter this evening, one of the ‘gems’ was there to welcome me with a lovely message saying I’d been missed. (Shout out to you, you know who you are!) Maybe I will pop by Twitter once in a while, after all.