Teacher tiredness isn’t a competition, you know

15th February 2019, 12:05am
Teachers Get Tired - But So Do People In Other Jobs, Says Sarah Simons

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Teacher tiredness isn’t a competition, you know

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/teacher-tiredness-isnt-competition-you-know

One of my triggers for a rabid rant is teachers who build a martyr narrative around being tired. Or even worse, the ones who discuss tiredness as if it’s a competitive sport. Honestly, I want to slap ’em with a pan.

I am, however, willing to admit that teaching can be absolutely knackering. But why is it so tiring?

Is it the physical act of standing for most of the day? Hmm, I’ve done loads of jobs where I’m on my trotters for hours on end - it wasn’t like this.

Is it the performance aspect? I love that bit. I’m at home on a stage, reading the room, judging how to work the crowd.

Is it the actual teaching bit? Making sure that you’re helping people learn, that progress is being made, that something has changed between them entering the room and leaving it. Posting a load of knowledge into brains and seeing what sticks is a whacking great responsibility.

What if we’re feeling too knackered to give it full-throttle teaching and it’s the day when pupils are most receptive, when they need us most? That day could make the difference. What if we miss it? The potential impact teachers have on students is a dizzying duty of care. I’d best not dwell on that.

My plan is to actively pursue health and hope that stamina follows. I’ve joined my local gym, gone back to fat club and bought a meditation app that plays tinkly rain falling. It’s supposed to clear my mind of chatter but I mainly find myself needing a wee. Sorry, I digress…I’m a bit tired.

Sarah Simons works in colleges and adult community education in the East Midlands and is director of UKFEchat

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