It’s been really interesting chatting to fellow MFL teachers about what they have enjoyed about lockdown teaching. We have also addressed some of the many challenges – such as how difficult it has been to engage lower ability groups, and get year 10s to switch on their cameras on a zoom call! I have another burning question though . . ..
What have you NOT missed about going into school each day?
You can see what happened when I asked this question on Linked In a few weeks ago:
“Break and lunchtime duties, as well as after school duties and after school meetings. It’s also a luxury grabbing a coffee when you want.”
“Marking 360 books a week!”
“Waking up at 6am!! “
“Working until 6pm most nightsI mean staying at school and not leaving. Being at home I get more done and finish at a reasonable hour”
“Wet break / lunchtimes!”
“Rushing around all day long!”
So here’s the thing – teaching is not what it was pre-coronavirus. Period. So cut yourself some slack if you’re secretly enjoying working from home, and dreading going back to the daily grind. Here are some thoughts that some of you are sharing with me at the moment (thank you for letting me share with the wider MFL community):
One day I’m ecstatic, the next it all feels pointless. What’s wrong with me?
Ask any teacher right now and they will back you up; teaching in lockdown is a rollercoaster full of ups and downs. Much like the ‘normal’ life of a teacher – but with higher highs, and lower lows. It’s ok if you feel confused and disconnected from it all. In the words of Kate Silverton in this excellent BBC article (link below) ‘Know there is nothing wrong with you – there is something wrong about the situation we are expected to live in at the moment.’
Gaby, a secondary MFL teacher who I coached back in 2018, says “I like to think of this period as an intensive training ground where I am able to discover and prepare myself for my true purpose – to spread the magic of language learning as widely as possible. However, the way I do that in the future may change. I’m open to new possibilities.”
I don’t know my path anymore
I used to think success in teaching meant climbing the ranks towards assistant head or head of faculty. I thought I wouldn’t be considered important or taken seriously within my profession unless I was constantly aiming for my next promotion. It took me quite some time to understand and appreciate that success is unique to every individual. If your goal is to be head teacher, that’s great! But for me, the realisation came that it was time for me to step outside the classroom. I learned to listen to my intuition, that voice inside telling me to take a different approach. As the saying goes, “It’s better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than the top of the one you don’t”. For me, that was making my own rules, ditching the 9-5 routine and forging a new path that was right for me.
It’s ok if you can feel a bigger change coming, and you don’t need to know all the answers yet. As restrictions start to lift, and we figure out our new normal, you’ll start see things more clearly. Use the summer holidays to take time out from work, and reconnect with yourself through hobbies, decorating, a trip abroad (Covid permitting!) and you’ll soon feel ready to tackle September!
Remember – I’m here to support you! If something in this article has struck a chord with you, and you’d like to chat, feel free to drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
3 quick things to perk you up:
Why learn French – an article for parents (yes – French is having a resurgence)!
£5 off BilinguaSing songs for teaching French & Spanish – just for you (limited time offer)
Link to Kate Silverton article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-53224324