Within the past two years I have resigned from two jobs. This is not due to the teaching pressures that colleagues (and the press) keep reminding me about, but because of my colleagues’ perceptions of these "challenging times".
The fact is, if I didn't love my job so much and see through all the negativity that keeps reoccurring, I probably would have moved careers, but teaching is teaching, and if you are a good, resilient teacher it shouldn't matter what "external pressures" are placed before you. At the end of the day, it is your students who matter the most and they should be at the heart of everything you do.
Both positions I resigned from were management positions. I had a job to do, and that job was to teach my students, inspire them and build their confidence in a world that often sees only the negative.
My other role was to support those colleagues who needed supporting and it was working. I was able to do the job I love doing, inspiring my lovely pupils and bringing a few colleagues along with me for the ride. I was beginning to change mindsets about new policies that were being brought in, and I was able to continue teaching in the way I was teaching, doing the job I was doing.
So what was keeping me awake at night? Misconceptions about my attitudes towards learning and what mattered and what didn't matter in the day-to-day running of learning hubs. Colleagues would scoff at my positivity, making comments such as: “You see the world through rose-tinted glasses” and “You are just about the children”.
Often these patronizing comments will still keep me awake at night because I came into teaching with just those two feelings in mind: seeing the positive in everything and putting the children first. I try my hardest to maintain this now and I am determined not to change my mind. Policies and procedures need to be in place, but when these policies interfere with what teaching and learning is about – and merely provide "tick boxes" for others to admire (not necessarily the children) – this is what keeps me awake.
I am a positive, resilient person. I have experienced some amazing opportunities and continue to enjoy what I do. I will continue in education but I will never join those colleagues who, rather than embrace change, conjecture about it. And I refuse to lose any more sleep over directives that are not for the benefit of our children.
The writer is a teacher who isn't losing sleep anymore over what colleagues think.
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