But the other side of this coin is a little darker. Do you ever feel like everyone around you is doing a better job than you are? All of their lessons seem to go so well, they always talk about how engaged their children are and their to-do list is so neatly crossed through. Even here, I witter on about what went well and how exciting x, y and z were.
Let's flip the coin. Here are my 5 most irritating flaws...
- The desk. I don't think I have ever been able to keep a desk tidy. Whether it's spare letters, that note from so-and-so or extra handouts for that lesson 3 weeks ago, my desk is always an absolute state. The worst bit is I know it, but do nothing about it, like it's endearing or cute. It's not, it's gross. I will confirm that it's always paper and stationery, never food (because I'm super-greedy and never waste even the smallest crumb), but everything is always in the way, and I know it's my own fault. Every time I want to use the visualiser (my most favourite resource ever) I have to make a highly awkward working space to be able to see what I'm after, and the eventual screen I am able to make is always bordered by various corners and edges of things poking slightly into view.
- Timing. My timing is absolutely shocking. I wouldn't necessarily say it's wasted time, I just get scared I'll send the children off not understanding what they're learning. So, rather than taking a risk and rescuing them if I need to, I'll keep them for a few more minutes with an extra example that many of them likely don't need or want. This is especially the case with shared writing, as if I almost get into it too much, leaving the children to sit and watch me have a great time with their ideas, when really they need to go and do it themselves. What we end up with is me nagging to get things done quicker, when really it's my fault for getting too into the input.
- Adults. I find it really hard to work with adults, which is likely why I chose to become a teacher, because you see far less of them! I find it really difficult to manage another adults' time and communicate to them what I'm looking for. During my introductory years in teaching, I learnt a fierce amount of independence. Most of the time, this is very valuable, but when I've got a team of eager people willing to help me, looking for my direction, I don't know what to do with myself. Whether it's describing some group work, or an intervention I want done, my words just fall to pieces. Part of me wants them to take the lead, but then we get to...
- I'm so stubborn. Teaching is not for perfectionists; attempting to train 30 little people to do something exactly the way you showed them is extremely difficult, but that doesn't stop us trying! I want a little border on everything and the laminator is my best friend. You might think it looks great but I saw it being a little more to the left. Your capital letter isn't quite capital enough for me and no, you certainly won't use that colour for the display board. Untrimmed paper stuck into an exercise book makes me feel very uncomfortable and if you don't make this the way I told you to, it's wrong (unless I made a mistake on mine, then you're allowed to as well!)
- Hypocrite! Even within this list I have made several contradictions. How can I be so precious about the colour of my display backing, when my desk looks like a recycling bin? What right do I have to moan about the timing of others, when I'm perfectly happy to show you how to measure angles for 5 more minutes? The worst one, and I really do pity my class for putting up with this, is my persistent bark for quiet...unless the noise is taken up by me, talking about myself...which (again) I'm doing here! Where's the sense!?!
Next time that person (likely me) is bragging about that brilliant lesson, remind yourself that they still had the price stickers stuck to their shoes the entire time. When you feel like you're the last person to assembly, you know it's because they never actually started their lesson because they spent 30 minutes talking about their dog.
One time I sat in milk. It was dreadful.