In the next week the school I work at is enduring an Estyn Inspection. As teachers, we have been under pressure for at least the last two years in expectation of this. The pressure has increased over time, with so many tasks given with little time to do them in and no sense of priority – everything is the most important. I have been late in work every day in the past few weeks, went into work over the Christmas holidays, and was there yesterday and will be there today.
There has been little time for art this past week that’s for sure. Today’s tasks are to get at least one day’s worth of lesson plans completed, along with any extra resources I may need, just in case. I’d like to get all three done, but that may be expecting a lot, especially as I’m currently having a quiet couple of hours sat in bed drinking tea and letting the ibuprofen dispel a thumping headache I woke up with. Despite the need to do work, I also know that I need some time to just relax too, as much as I can at the moment. Finding time to meditate this week is a priority for me!
I, along with many staff, have been losing sleep worrying over this. My self-belief and self-esteem is never great, but all of this has been putting dents in the dents in the dents that I have, especially doubting myself greatly (despite the evidence of the past that says I’m actually quite good at the teaching thing).
I try to focus on the definite fact that, no matter what happens (well except for school closure due to snow) it will be well over by this time next week and I can get my life back.
We’re expected to be prefect, but nothing is ever perfect; we are all human and humans make mistakes, find it impossible to do absolutely everything or to do everything perfectly. All we can do is our best. However, over the past couple of years I feel I have been given the message that whatever I do is never good enough, and it isn’t just me who gets that message.
All I can hope for in the next week is that I make understandable, allowable human mistakes, rather than stupidly huge ones that cause problems. I hope I can do my sparkling self, that the core of difficult pupils in my classes will cooperate for once, and that my voice actually lasts the week (my voice has been breaking on and off all this week and the voice enhancing equipment installed in my room has been deemed unsuitable for purpose, well part of it has, so goodness knows how long it will be before that is rectified).
I mentioned earlier in this post that the pressure is waking up those inner voices who love to reinforce the idea that I am useless, pathetic, weak, a really poor teacher, a failure, and so on. I do have evidence to the contrary, but believing that evidence in the clamour of the strident negative self-talk can be difficult, especially when I overhear other teacher’s talking about how they are going to make their lessons extra special dazzling singing an dancing. The pressure I then feel under to do the same is ridiculous, and that feeds into the negative self-talk. My past experience of being seen teaching is that when I do things as I would normally do them, perhaps with just a little more organisation and less opportunity for the pupils to sidetrack me with interesting questions than usual, I have done well. So, I will be continuing in that vein, which is commonsense really.