We are getting towards the end of the school year here and everyone is starting to get a little bit tetchy. My tutor group are just completingRead More...
Does the how or why
Even make it worse?
And if I take don’t
And swap it with do not
Will it change the way you feel?
And will this be hurtful
Or will that be the one to seal the deal?
I had a rubbish day yesterday because a student made a comment that just hit the wrong spot. It’s happened before and I’m sure it will happen many times over and over. But the interesting thing is that I’m now finding myself very analytical of what has been said and why it might have had such an impact.
I really can’t remember what the student said – it was one of two very similar things – and I don’t know which is worse, or why I even care so much.
The two options were (as she stormed out of the room) ‘I don’t know why you’re even a teacher?’ or ‘I don’t know how you’re even a teacher?’ I’ve told the story so many times in my own head, I now have no idea.
Would I rather she insults my intelligence, or how genuine I am? It’s really made me think about how I repeat stories to other people and if I screw up on just one word, I could completely skew the way the other person is perceived.
On a lighter note, I have been seriously asking myself why I am a teacher, and I’m sure that most teachers would answer ‘God only knows’!
How honest should I be when asked
How do you feel or what do you think?
Do you let it all out in a river of bile
Or hold some back so as not to burn bridges?
Should I get angry, or play it real cool?
The last thing I want is to be made a fool.
I got an exit interview questionnaire today and the questions were basically asking me why I have chosen to leave the school and what the school might be able to do better in the future.
I did smile as I read the questions because I know that the Rachel from five years ago would have had a couple of drinks and filled it out with unfiltered honesty. These days my approach to ‘telling the truth’ is much more reserved as I realise that it’s not helpful to burn every bridge once it’s been crossed just so I can feel like I’ve made my point.
I did tell the truth about the kids though, and I’m glad I did. There are days when I don’t even feel particularly safe leaving my room because the kids are so aggressive and nasty and I think that’s a really sad situation.
And I think that the school probably need to know that there are members of staff feeling that way.
Honesty is nearly always the best policy – but you should probably give a few home truths here and there. Just down burn that bridge down as you go.
It’s hard to believe that the nastiest part
Of my long Monday took place outside
The grotty Year 10 toilets where a throng
Of teenage girls shot me horrible looks
And giggled behind hands as I passed.
I’m a teacher, for God’s sake
And yet still my heart takes a silent beating
As I pass with my head low, wondering
Why I came back to school for more
Of this horrid abuse, that most fear for life.
Today felt really bad because of one moment caused by a girl who is fast becoming my worst nightmare. I lost my Year 10 class because she was so unpleasant to me and she obviously blames me for the fact that she has been moved to a class where she is apart from her friends.
She has obviously gone to her friends and told them all about how awful I am and when I was passing them as they were queuing for the toilet one of her friends gave her a nudge and nodded in my direction. This girl sneered at me and said ‘ugh’ as though I was something horrible that she had stepped in.
Now, I know I’m an adult and I’m probably being a bit snowflakey, but I felt like somebody had stabbed me in the heart and it genuinely made me feel low for the entire day.
I have been told that my skin will get thicker but it still hurts so hard. I know that it stems from my upbringing where I knew that I would always be wrong and nobody would believe me. Now that I’m an adult I still fear that my boss will believe a fourteen year old over me.
It’s amazing how the things we are told as children can shape us so totally as adults. My colleagues think this girl is an idiot and yet still that fear that they believe her over me is so real.
More therapy, anyone?
They stand at the edge of the field
Sniggering sharply, behind hiding hands,
Not willing to shout, but too cool to cheer.
One day they’ll grow, and know how it feels
To suffer their dagger and barbed little words.
For now I will dance to the beat of my drum,
No letting girls in their sour teenage years
Pull me to pieces in the prime of my life.
So, during my first year of teaching I have found that I really struggle with older students (those of around fourteen to fifteen). It’s surprised me that I gel with the younger ones, while I tend to bring out the worst in a Year 10.
There was one group of girls that particularly upset me early on, and the class was taken off me because they were really being nasty. However, I still have to see these girls around school so I’ve really had to grow a slightly thicker skin for when I pass them in corridors and they give me withering looks.
Today, I took part in the school triathlon, and I’m not exactly a sprinter so I was bringing up the back of the pack during the run. It was done at lunchtime and we ran straight through the middle of the school grounds so that we could have a marathon vibe as we competed.
Of course, these girls were at the side of the route and I saw them laughing at me as I passed. But you know what? I kept on running and waving at all the students who were cheering me on.
I know that 15 is a tough age and I really hope that in a couple of years they will look back at their Mean Girls ways and cringe a little bit. I just hope that my little Year 7s stay nice and I never have to feel embarrassed running past them.
They’re just like little adults in the world
With half formed brains and unformed lives,
No life experience needed for an understanding of
The feelings of the others on this earth.
They push the buttons, poke at nerves
Raw with pain and overuse, like skin
That’s been so scorched with evil flames
Leaving red and sticky wounds that hurt to touch.
With fifteen years within their bank, they know
Those wounds are there, and that the touch will hurt.
They don’t know yet, the pain and damage that
Their scratching does, the long term hurt
They’ll only know with yet another fifteen years
Underneath their lifeling belts.
I am really struggling with my Year 10 students at the moment and it’s eating me up. They are fifteen and they are intelligent so they know that what they say can hurt, but I don’t think that they have the maturity to know that it can have a long term effect.
I am a bit of a softy and I should really be in therapy, but still, I am learning that I struggle to deal with their hurtful comments because they really make me question myself.
The biggest problem with these students is that they don’t have much life experience yet. They know how to push your buttons, but they are too young to know just how fucked up grown ups can be. And interestingly, it’s the intelligent girls from rich families who are the worst. Many of them have had really entitled lives with parents who tell them the sun sshines out of their bums.
The students that have really horrible home lives are not vindictive at all. Those guys will act up, but they know pain and they don’t seem ready to inflict it on other people.
If I can give you any advice, if you are a parent and you are giving your kids the very best of everything: educate them on how cruel the world can be and how compassion is the antidote to any of that crap. Kids that know this, are the kids that will go on to lead the world – in the right direction.