When your best isn’t good enough….

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It’s not you….

We are constantly being told we need to self evaluate and look at our practice and I think as a profession we can be hard on ourselves. I have already written about the amount of sleep we lose thinking about the things that could have been? If a wee change could have really influenced an outcome or a pathway for a young person.
There have been a few times in my teaching career where I have really been at a loss and perhaps even tortured myself with the what ifs.
I had another one of those situations recently and it’s been a torturing one….
Yep, that one that says, it’s not you, it’s me.
I have long since accepted that I might be a square peg etc but I did a bit of stop and really had a good hard look at myself and wondered if it really was me that was bonkers?
Is it wrong to want educationalists to believe in what they are doing? Is it wrong to not want to teach to the test? Is it wrong to want to have a core belief that every child can do something? Is it wrong to teach about process rather than product?
Working with student teachers this year on a brand new programme has been such a joy. Creative contexts for learning processes, good learning and teaching, child at the centre, high aspirations and I absolutely love it. My teaching partner and I have poured our heart and soul in to the classes and supporting the students. It’s been such good fun. Then we lost two.
Two total super stars….I felt absolutely gutted. Immediately I had the conversation with myself -the same kind of conversation I have with my daughter ( nearly 7): did you use unkind words? Did you try your best? Were you a good friend? Did you do something to help?
I had a really good conversation with one of these stars and they had come to the decision it just wasn’t for them – immediately my question was ” was it me? Did we set the bar way out of reach?” I openly admit that I am Pollyanna and everything is half full but perhaps that wasn’t the reality that my student teachers needed?
No, that’s exactly what they needed. After chatting we realised that they had enjoyed what they were doing and despite being fabulous trainee teachers, they had come to the decision that it just wasn’t for them.
A brave decision, as an easy route would have been to carry on as they were so talented but their heart wasn’t in it.
With all the reflection, evaluation, guilt et al, I know at the centre of what we do as educators is our heart. When you put that on the line, you are leaving yourself wide open to being hurt, disappointed, worried, emotional …..but also inspired, full of joy, energetic and determined to make a difference.
So my best this time wasn’t good enough but as I am frequently reminded, you can’t save them all. Aye, but I’ll continue to give it a good try. ( and mentally beat myself up for losing two fabulous superstars)

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