Thursday, 5 February 2015

Not Unpleasant, Just Hard

Sometimes teaching is hard work. Not unpleasant, just hard. I'm finding this week hard. I'm tired, the kids are tired. Routines and expectations are still unfamiliar. Things are't quite where I thought they were. We're still learning how to be a cohesive unit. It's hard. Not unpleasant, just hard.

That isn't to say that we're not having those exquisite little moments of delight or progress or peace. We are. Oh. We. Are.

I have one young man in my class who, for a variety of reasons, struggles with self-regulation. Today,  during a break, he had a small social struggle. Like all kids do.  For most kids, this would have rated about 1.5 on the richter scale. For my young man it was more like 6.5 and threatened massive aftershocks.  BUT! BUT... But... My young man allowed me into his space and accepted my (very minimal) help to reframe the issue. He then took a timer into our 'oasis' (an Ikea mosquito net hanging in the corner of our learning space, filled with cushions) and 5 minutes later re-emerged ready to reengage with learning. I openly acknowledged his choices and resilience. No fewer than eight students joined in with their own observations of how impressed they were.  For a young man who doesn't show much social emotion... His smile was so big it hurt!

I have another young man who likes to be heard. He makes some brilliant contributions to class discussions, but often is unaware of the other 24 students eager to participate. A longstanding challenge for this young man it's causes a range of extended social issues for him.  Other kids simply don't want to hear anything he has to say because, well, to be blunt, he never shuts up. This afternoon he asked for my help to become more aware of when and how he does this. He asked! You can't say no to that kind of request.

One young lady in my class brought her mum into our learning space after school. Arriving a couple of days after the year started this young lady is clearly not feeling a lack of belonging or group identity. The pride on her face as she gave the 'royal tour' was delightful.

It's hard sometimes, but that's OK. Sometimes it's the hard parts that make it worthwhile.

This relates to the following Australian Professional Standards for Teachers...
Standard 1 Know students and how they learn
Standard 4 Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments

1 comment:

  1. The intentional behaviours and influential vales which combine to create safe, relational and reflexive spaces are energy sapping. Fortunately the law of the conservation of energy means that your energy applied to create such an environment is transformed into, "smiles so big they hurt."