Five songs to get you through a tough teaching week

Lisa Jarmin offers a playlist that is sure to lift your spirits when everything is going a little pear-shaped in school

Lisa Jarmin

Lisa Jarmin drafts a song playlist that is sure to lift a teacher's mood when things are tough at school

Every teacher knows that if you’re going to survive a tough week, you need a top-notch motivational playlist on hand.

Mine includes an eclectic bunch of artists, from Sigur Rós (“Everybody lie down and meditate. Mrs Jarmin’s got a headache”) to Village People – because making your class do the dance to YMCA as they tidy up is always entertaining, especially if you all wear hats from the dressing up box for the duration.

But what else do you need on your teaching mix tape? 

Here are my top suggestions for tough times.

1. Gotta Get Thru This – Daniel Bedingfield

When your teaching assistant phones in sick, this is what you need. I know that some of you are hard as nails and rarely have a TA in your classrooms, but when you teach in EYFS or key stage 1 or you’ve got a child who relies on one-to-one support, the prospect of a lesson without your trusty sidekick can make you weep. 

“If only I could get through this. God, God gotta help me get through this…” 

That’s the prayer of the suddenly TA-less teacher who’s planned a full morning of design and technology with hacksaws right there.


2. Unbelieveable – EMF

“The things you say…you’re unbelievable.”

The teacher next door does almost zero work yet she manages to con the head into believing that she’s God’s gift to teaching. You don’t know how she’s fudged her results this time but you don’t believe a word of it, and you’re hopping mad. Your inner nine-year-old is tugging its imaginary beard and shouting “chinny reckon”, but as that’s unseemly behaviour for an adult you’re best off blasting this passive aggressively from your classroom while you sulk.

3. Where’s me Jumper – The Sultans of Ping FC

“I know I had it on when I had my tea, and I’m sure I had it on in the lavatory…”

It’s surprising that any learning happens in primary classrooms as staff spend much of the day hunting for lost coats and sending their class on reconnaissance missions across the playing fields to recover jumpers that were being used as makeshift goal posts. 

My mother will be so so angry,” sings Niall O'Flaherty of his lost jumper. 

Yes, she will, Niall! 

And that anger will probably be directed at school staff for not being able to keep track of 30 identical, unnamed sweatshirts while delivering the curriculum. 

Turn this up and write another verse extolling the virtues of name labels to channel your irritation.

4. Every Day I Love You Less and Less – Kaiser Chiefs

You love your class, but sweet lord they know how to test that love. It’s no surprise that Ricky Wilson was a teacher, because these lyrics sum up that teacher on the edge feeling perfectly: are you sick and tired of staying in control? Do you feel like a rat upon a wheel? Are you stressed? Do you need pills and rest? Yes! Oh well. At least your parents love you (na-na-na-na-na-na-na).

5. To the End – Blur

Dose yourself up with Lemsip and put this song on repeat to remind yourself that you’re nearly there. The French lyrics add a certain drama to the proceedings, which is always nice when you’re attention-seeking because you’re ill. Promise yourself that if you get there without collapse, you and your colleagues will sing this in the pub after school, arms around each other's shoulders, eyes looking to the heavens in thanks. Looks like we made it to the end (jusqu'a la fin).

Lisa Jarmin is a primary school teacher and freelance writer

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Lisa Jarmin

Lisa Jarmin is a primary teacher and freelance writer

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