In it for the long haul

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Yesterday, school finished for half term. One week of rest, one week away.

The funny thing is, the closer we got to the end of the day, more love was being shown by students.

We have a phrase called ‘team hugs’ where I work. This describes an appropriate show of care.

Yesterday, I got team hugs from two of our most difficult and complex students along with ‘Thank you for everything miss!’

There are moments, days and sometimes weeks in teaching when it is a slog, hard going and you question why?

All of that is worth it for the short moments I had with those two students today.

People know when you genuinely care about them. They know if you are being authentic or just going through the motions. You can’t be in it for recognition, it doesn’t work like that.

It’s a long haul thing, there are no short cuts. It is consistent day in, day out actions, despite the response.

I do my best to act out of care and love. I don’t always get it right. I make mistakes but I don’t let the mistakes define me.

There is something powerful about genuine love.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:7 ESV

Tough Day

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This is the last week of an eight week half term. I have been teaching for ten years so my body is trained to know when half term is and usually responds by shutting down and I develop what I like to call end of term itus.

This year, half term is a week later than usual. This probably sounds pretty minor, but it has a huge impact on my body and my ability to function. It is also a well known fact in the educational community that the last week of half term or a full term are the toughest. Staff are tired, students are tired and that mix is not good.

Today, I spent three hours of my day standing outside in the cold, assisting my colleagues de-escalate a child in crisis. This was emotionally demanding and required me to be a decision maker. I was also conscious of staff well being and was ensuring staff had breaks and were doing ok.

Managing staff and their emotions is tough, taking on other people’s worries and concerns can become draining and you can begin to feel empty.

 This evening, I am emotionally exhausted. I could barely hold a pen at the end of the day. The student is safe, happy and well.

 Days like today are hard going and it is so easy to just shut down and switch off. What I have learnt is that is exactly times like these that I should be talking and making sure my thoughts are in check.

It would be easy to become despondent and to give up, to say that it is not worth the effort.

The thing is, I do think that it is worth it, despite what happens. This is because I am secure in the knowledge that I have purpose and a hope.

It is on days like this that I am so glad that I can look to one who is greater than me. That I can bring all of my failings, all of my worries to a God who cares.

‘Cast your cares on The Lord and he will sustain you’ Psalm 55:22