Thursday, 14 January 2010

Acting my way through life...

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'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 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.


  1. It IS really tough to be a disciplinarian when necessary - because I'm temporary, I've built up less of a formal relationship with the pupils I work with, and it can be hard to get them to do what I want and stop messing around sometimes. Good luck - I don't think there is a quick fix formula for this, but I hope you find a way around it!

  2. Brilliant. I'm totally the same way. I cringe at the thought of being firm...and the pressure just builds and builds until I snap at some poor kid, which is just not fair. I'm taking a cue from you. Usually I just guilt them into behaving :)

  3. Don't give up!! Management skills are what I struggle with also...and I have no problem being firm. This doesn't make you a bad teacher. It simply makes us inexperienced. Only time and experience, trying out a new role, will help us improve.

  4. Thank you for stopping by my blog and saying hello! I look forward to reading your blog as well. :-)

  5. Kirsty: I totally relate...I'm never usually in the same classroom for more than a day or two so it sounds like the issues we're facing are the same. There's definitely not a quick fix, but I am trying to find my way round it. It's just so hard remembering all I've learned and putting it into practice, but I guess I've just got to keep going with it!

    Elizabeth: Yeah, it sounds like we're basically the same person! I end up snapping at children too, generally those who've done nothing wrong! :-( Let's see if we can get through it together...I'm working tomorrow, so it'll be a great opportunity to start playing my "teacher" role!

    Rachael: Thank you!! I assure you I'm not going to give up :-) It's definitely a question of taking time and gaining more experience...fingers crossed I get a more settled job soon which will help me do this!

    Sarah: Thank you! I'm working tomorrow, so I'll be attempting to break out my "firm teacher" role then! :-)

    Stevie: No problem, it was really fun to join in with "Delurking Day" and I love your blog! Hope you enjoy mine! :-)