On my return to teaching after four years, not convinced that this was the right thing to do, but dipping my toes back in with relief teaching, I was aware that much had changed. What hadn’t waned though was my innate love for the work and I came to understand that I needed to make some changes to be able to thrive, rather than just survive, in this amazing but intense job.
So why and how am I still here?
My original impulse and passion for teaching is still strong along with my care for my students and the inspiration of always learning alongside them. I really do love teaching.
I see a lot of younger teachers trying to prove themselves with ambitions to go up the career ladder. I am still eager and will actually be going for a promotion soon, but there is less push in me.
I walk without rushing and know there is space for conversations and chats; yet what I see when I walk around the school is that most teachers are racing around and greetings (if any) are exchanged without a pause in stride, so the response you get is delivered as the person walks away from you.
I will go to the toilet between lessons, but I’m but not surprised to meet teachers in the toilets at the end of the day saying they have been holding on since break time.
When my family were young, leaving school early was a bonus, but I would then resume work after the kids had gone to bed. I now don’t do school work in the evenings. I stay later these days, preferring to have my evenings free, and get up earlier, finding the mornings a great time to work.
There is a wise sage in me now that doesn’t get riled by the stream of new directives that endlessly come from on high, but I see many other staff getting stressed and overwhelmed by what is being asked of them.
Every teacher has an innate wisdom. The expression of that wisdom is unique for each teacher. Our senior teachers and elders can support others in education with how to maintain their love for their work and take care of themselves in it. This is the foundation for collaboration in our work places that will have an immeasurable ripple effect in our schools and beyond.