- The times when you have to speak at assembly: for some, this is a nerve racking experience. I am lucky that this doesn’t bother me. For others, standing in front of hundreds of kids, staff and parents can be a daunting experience. You fear being judged or making a massive mistake or saying something wrong.
- The time when you realise no kid in the class is actually listening to you and you have zero control: there is always a moment in teaching, usually earlier on or depending on the kids you have, when you feel totally helpless. The kids are not listening, they won’t respond and they are ear splittingly loud. Not only that, sometimes these moments occur on excursions or when there is an audience making it 70 times worse. Inside you are screaming out to yell but you need to keep your cool.
- School dress ups: people have different body shapes, budgets, life stages, ages and comfort levels. Dress ups seem to bring out the best and the worst. Some people can rush off and order outfits that look amazing at the drop of a hat. Others would look silly in the same outfit. The general population has no idea the effort the teachers have to go to get in “character” for fun days. Again, for some this is their element and for others, they do not sleep for nights thinking of what to wear.
- The moment that you hear a negative comment about your teaching: Teachers pour their heart and soul into the job often at the expense of their own families and social time. So when you hear a negative comment or criticism that is misinformed, ill advised or inaccurate it makes your gut churn. Recently, a colleague of mine was discussing how a comment that a parent made caused them a few sleepless nights. It was more the fact that from the teacher’s viewpoint, it was utterly unjustified and misinformed.
- The time when you think a kid is unaccounted for: sometimes, your heart literally stops. You call a child’s name and there is no response. It may be they are taking longer to move to line or in the toilet longer or with another teacher but this moment is a common dreaded moment. Teachers seem to have a protective element that is on high alert when teaching. This is heightened on things like excursions. Everyone loves an excursion. However, the stress and worry associated with this is nerve racking.
- When your boss wants to speak to you: your boss may be the loveliest and amazing and calm person in the world. Supportive and empathetic. However, most of the human race have an increase in heart rate when a person with authority wants to speak to you. Your mind races and you start to think “Is this about…?” “Am I in trouble?” “Have I said or done something wrong?”. Often you haven’t but there just seems to be this switch that flicks when management wants to talk. This isn’t just in teaching; this is all jobs.
- When other teachers need to step in to bail you out: when you first start teaching, this is the worst. When experienced teachers need to step in and help you control a class or correct what you have said. This is all part of the learning curve and you need to trust that the teacher has your best interests at heart. However, you still feel like a failure or not good enough at your job.
- When you have no idea how to answer a relevant and legit question: I think that you get better at this over time. Yet no matter how long you have been teaching, there is always that time when someone else will ask you a relevant question and you cannot answer it. You have said plenty about it, your team has communicated it but there will be one person who finds the hole and raise the issue. One person who finds the 1% and you will have no idea to respond.
- Technology doesn’t work: I had that freak out moment on Friday. The kids rehearsed a song. It loaded fine in practise, the sound was fine but the video that worked earlier froze. It would have taken ages to reload the video so with hundreds waiting, we had to improvise. My heart almost stopped. My teaching partner and I were freaking out because it had worked multiple times a few hours earlier in rehearsal.
#secretfreakout #dreadedmoment #twocreativeteachers