Sometimes, my job really gets me down, and it's then when my deep rooted pessimism well and truly kicks in. It's at these times that I think I've made the completely wrong career choice, and that I'm a hopeless teacher who might as well give up now, before I end up investing too much of my time into something that simply isn't right for me.
However, even someone who can be as pessimistic as I has their more realistic, and dare I say, even optimistic moments and it's then that I realise that I'm not a hopeless teacher, in fact there are aspects of teaching that I've been told I rock at, but rather that there are parts of teaching that I'm not so good at yet. The one which gives me most concern is that of behaviour management. Whilst I've worked and worked on my positive reinforcement techniques and strive to give lots of positive feedback and rewards in the classroom, I find it hard to be firm (yet fair) with my students. I know through reading, courses, seminars and observing examples of good practice, that this is essential for any teacher, and I have had my odd moments of firmness, but on the whole, I'm about as firm as a chocolate fireguard! After talking it over with my mum this afternoon, I've come to the conclusion that it's because firmness is an alien concept to me...it's just not part of my personality. I'm generally pretty laid back, hate the thought of upsetting people and can be so timid that I wouldn't dream of saying boo to a goose. And therein lies the problem...in class, I have to be the one in charge, but telling people what I need them to do, and following up if they don't meet my expectations, just isn't me. But it needs to be.
So from tomorrow, I'm taking inspiration from my college acting background and creating a new role for myself...that of a teacher who's firm, fair, consistent and in control. Just as if I was playing a role in a play. At first it's bound to be unfamiliar...I might struggle with my lines and not fully understand my new character. But it's a learning process, and if I keep going, eventually I'll get there. I'll be word perfect and understand the part so much, that eventually I won't be playing it any more, I'll be it. I'll be the teacher that I admire so much. And she'll be me. Hopefully for a long time to come.