3 reasons teachers everywhere are doing great things

Teachers are slap bang in the middle of the term that never ends - but no matter how it feels, you are doing great

Vicki Rotheram

Coronavirus: Why our international school is running a remote wellbeing festival

The Winter term / Christmas term / Autumn term – whatever your preferred nomenclature for the longest term of the academic year, it's a time of year that can be brutal. And we are right in the middle of it. 

It’s hard work – there are still umpteen weeks until Christmas, and let’s be honest, for many of us working parents Christmas is not that much of a break anyway with all the presents, sugar-loaded tantrums, and worse.

Oh, and there’s Covid-19 hanging over our heads too. Yay. 

Right about now, it can feel like you should chuck it all in and join the circus – or whatever the modern-day equivalent is. But not so fast: you're doing OK – in fact, better than OK, you're doing great.

We're all kicking butt at this teaching lark.

1. Pupils are still learning

It might not be the best learning, there are certainly barriers and probably a lot more teaching from the front than we would like but pupils are most definitely learning. 

As well as subject knowledge and skills, they are also learning how to be brave, how to carry on and edit the usual routines to make life fit the odd times we find ourselves in. 

Teachers all over the world are demonstrating to pupils all the ideal character strengths we want them to have: resilience, perseverance, patience.

That's awesome.

2. We are still going

All of us are worried to some degree, it may be those of us teaching internationally are worried about the next time we will be on home soil, the children we have sent off to universities in lands far away, or when another lockdown may arrive. 

Those teaching locally may be worried about transmission rates, family members who need support in myriad ways, the impact on mental health at all ages in countries where coronavirus has hit hardest. 

Some teachers (and friends of mine) find themselves in the vulnerable bracket, too – they are self-isolating, behind a screen every day for months on end, unable to offer the lessons and feedback they would usually provide.

But they keep on going.  The spirit and self-sacrifice of teachers never ceases to amaze me. 

3. There’s still laughter and sarcasm

If there’s one thing teachers are pretty good at, it’s sarcasm and taking the mick.

Whether it’s laughing at internet memes, rolling our eyes at the exam boards and the politics over which we have no control, or gentle ribbing in the staffroom, teachers are often some of the friendliest, silliest and most magical of people. 

There is often no time to be too serious about school. When little Johnny tells you for the umpteenth time that his cat pooed on his homework, or Sally lies about forgetting her kit again to get out of PE, we smile wryly and know we'll have a good chuckle about it later with our peers.

It can be hard right now to see the laughs, the light-hearted moments and the mickey-tacking – but we need them, they sustain us.

Covid continues to hang over us, but we carry on as best we can: smiling, and fuelled by caffeine and mince pies for the next six weeks or so.

And it's Friday today as well. Result.

Vicki Rotheram is an assistant principal at Shrewsbury International School (Riverside) in Bangkok. She leads the newly established Shrewsbury Institute. She has taught internationally for six years

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