The past term has been a whirlwind of deadlines, planning and excitement, all rolled into one. The first thing that I need to make you all aware of though, is that – despite being shattered and barely able to catch my breath – teaching is still 100% what I want to do. Which obviously, is good to know.
As it’s been a while since I last posted, I thought I would just summarise a few outcomes of last term (both the highs and lows.)
1. I’m not sure I’m emotionally strong enough to teach, but hey, I’m going to plough through. Had one of my favourite kids (yeah, yeah, you’re not meant to have them. We all do!) cry on me a few weeks back, because her friends were leaving her out and being cruel to her. I wanted to cry too! The tears were actually splashing off her face. It’s so sad that kids are so mean, but I did all I could to make her feel better, and luckily, over the weekend, things seemed to sort themselves out.
2. That brings me onto my second point. Some kids are so HORRIBLE. And I don’t just mean the odd rude or nasty comment, or the foul language that some of them use. I mean, I look at them and I feel hatred. How can some parents be proud of the nasty kids they produce? I know it sounds a bit OTT, but I’m serious, my Y7s are particularly vile; finding any way they can to purposely upset their friends. Or one of my KS4 classes for example, finding it hilarious to throw away one of their friend’s lunches. That’s not funny, it’s just plain mean (not to mention upsetting and humiliating for the kid whose lunch it was.)
3. Arrogance. Whether they are 11 or 16, some of the arrogance I’ve received this term is unbelievable. I wouldn’t mind if I could be sure that these cocky so and sos were going to pass their GCSEs, but actually, I can’t guarantee that any of them will. I got particularly fed up with a few Year 11s the other day, so I told them I didn’t want them in my class. When one boy sneered at me, I simply told him I was serious, I didn’t care, and wasn’t going to help him if he didn’t listen. Now maybe that wasn’t professional of me, but why the fuck should I spend hours trying to help people who don’t give a shit? Simple, I shouldn’t.
(I would like to point out that since then, he’s been a dream – so tough love clearly works.)
4. I want to end on a high. So I want to tell you about some of the fantastic relationships I feel I have built with certain students this term. It’s so much more real than when I was a trainee! Last year I just wanted to be liked. This year I feel liked, respected and trusted. Which is WAY better. The trust is what gets me the most, and what makes me realise that the reason I’m a teacher is simply for the kids. The other week, I had a Year 11 girl turn up after school and tell me she had come to speak to me to sort her life out. So myself, her and 2 of her mates, sat down and spoke like adults, and tried to sort out her issues. I think we made progress, not necessarily fixing the problem, but learning how to cope with it. When she left, I heard her say to her friend that I was her favourite teacher, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to break out into a little victory dance. Furthermore, two of my particularly tricky Year 8 tutees came to find me during break the other week, to see if I could help with a problem in another subject. I did my best obviously, and tried to help – I respected that they’d asked me. Two days later, they came to find me again, and I thought it was going to be the same again. But what pleases me more, was the fact that actually, they’d come to tell me that they had won a competition in PE and thought I would be proud of them. It was really cute. And I was so proud I could have burst.
I think that’s the main difference I’ve noticed this year; I’m making an impact on kids. Whether it’s for good things or bad, I’ve got students who spend their free time coming to speak to me, who respect me enough to listen to me. And honestly, that makes every minute of my job totally and completely worth it.