What if they don’t speak to me?



Working with student teachers over a long period time has seen every question about teaching thrown at me that I can think of. I suppose deep down we are all worrying about the same things:what if no one speaks to me? Where do I sit in the staffroom?what if they don’t take me seriously?
Here’s a tip:move to a country where it is totally different to the system you are used to working in and watch your confidence run for the door quicker than the Boxing Day sales fanatics.
I was the newbie. 5 years teaching experience and ready to take on the world. However I had to learn to bend a bit and work with staff to effect change. Little ones.
What if no one speaks to me? Yes, this would be the first time I had ever been targeted for being Scottish. Ragin,com.
My accent and English was not correct I was told by my Chinese colleagues. This was despite the fact I was using my best elocution and interpreters voice. My Chinese colleagues were intrigued by my vowel sounds and I was determined I would not develop a clipped accent. How often do we hear people with teacher voices???
I stuck to my scottish guns and they soon got used to it. I suppose when you stop hearing and start listening……
Where do I sit in the staffroom? Well there wasn’t a staffroom and I missed it. I had come from a big school that both a main staffroom and a subject base. I loved the blethers over tea and the sharing of ideas….this was impossible. The politics of where to sit was of course a major thing when it was social gatherings but more on that another time.
What if they don’t take me seriously? Well, I dug my trenches for the long haul and eventually they had now other option but to take me seriously.
I had to convince my VSO colleagues that what was doing was positive and would have longevity and sustainability.
My placement partner B and I took on the challenge to create a library for the student teachers and teaching staff in the college. We got a room, painted it, furnished it and managed to kit it out with up to date books. We pleaded with all of our friends and families to donate, we made ( handmade) 600 Christmas cards and sold them back home to pay for resources.
The staff were aware of what we were doing but viewed is suspiciously.
We created displays on walls,named shelves after our sponsors ( i.e. our plans) catalogued everybody and created a cpd section.
We had a grand opening and the staff were genuinely quite taken with it. We had modern books, audio resources, music, posters,games and space. Tables, shelves and a place students could come as well as staff.
By the time we had opened the library and resource centre, staff had already started to work collegiately and look at how to take forward communicative methodology, self evaluation and learning to learn.
We put a kettle in the library. And mugs…….
And I was asked if I would consider extending my contract.


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