As we reach another milestone in the course I want to focus this week on thinking about how you might be feeling at the moment, what emotions to expect and then how to move forward.
For many of you, you will have been told this week that you have met the Teachers’ Standards, for others you will be spending the next two weeks continuing to ensure you have confidently addressed each one. Whichever of these situations you are in, the end point is definitely looming!
On the surface one would have thought it would be the case that most of you should be feeling very upbeat and happy. It is not that long since Easter (and an opportunity for you to rest and return feeling fully charged), many of you will have jobs and, with the end in sight, surely excitement and high spirits should be the order of the day?
So why is it that you might be feeling drained and, perhaps, discombobulated this weekend?
I think there are many reasons and that it is worth exploring these to help you understand how you are feeling and move forward.
Obviously, if you are in a position where your Final Profile is yet to be submitted you may be feeling anxious and you will know you have got a lot of hard work to do planning for the next two weeks and then teaching. This is difficult, but do remember this is about giving you the best possible opportunity to be successful and respond to all the feedback and support you have been given in recent weeks. One thing that might be worth doing over the weekend is looking back at some of the previous posts on the BatBlog which either focus on a particular aspect of practice (like behaviour management or differentiation) or on how to reflect, make sense of targets and move forward. I know from talking to tutors how hard you are working and how much progress is being made so do keep focused and show everyone everything you have learnt!
What is less obvious is why, if you have been told you have met all the Standards, do you feel unsettled and down? It is these feelings I now want to focus on. Here are some suggestions of where these feelings are coming from:
You have worked incredibly hard since September and suddenly someone is telling you that you are ok!
It is a bit like coming out of the other side of a very stressful personal situation that you have had no choice but to manage and survive through. You will have focused on coping and carried on regardless – adrenalin and determination will have seen you through. Very often when people no longer have to worry about such a situation, and know they have survived, they suddenly become ill or feel down. This is their body saying ‘now you are allowed to worry about yourself a little bit’. I think this moment in the course is a bit like that – you have had to be so focused and everything has had to go into thinking about meeting the Standards and now someone is saying you have done it and can have a bit of space and freedom – it is hard to know how to feel!
You are worried that your profile is wrong and you don’t feel remotely ready to be the real thing!
I saw one of my personal tutees this week and she said ‘how can I be a 1 in this Standard? I am nowhere near as good as my mentor and I am not ready to do this as a real teacher!’
This is not an unusual feeling either! There are two key things to remember here:
- The grades you have been given this week are a reflection of your meeting of the Teachers’ Standards in the context of being a trainee teacher. Those grades (and remember it really isn’t worth focusing on grades anyway!) do not equate to an experienced teacher being graded against the same standards. Several years ago there used to be different Standards for teachers at different stages of their career – trainee teacher, NQT, experienced teacher – and in many ways these were easier to make sense of. Now it is the same standards for everyone but anyone that is graded against them is considered in relation to their personal context.
- You haven’t finished yet! We are not expecting you to be NQT ready today. The whole point is you now have more time to focus on areas that you, as an individual, need to prioritise or areas that are of particular interest to you. All of you will continue to teach until the end of your placement in June and your focus throughout should be ‘what do I need to know now to be ready for September?’
Observing others with a focus, trying different things out, seeing different practices will all help you continue to grow and develop until the very last day of the course.
So, I accept there are reasons why I feel weird but what do I do about them?
Be kind to yourself – allow yourself to feel peculiar and just run with it. Have a nice weekend and don’t try and force yourself to be excited about doing different things next week. Wait for next week to come and let it happen then.
Have clear foci for the remaining weeks of your placement – you might not feel excited but do have a plan! Know exactly what you want to learn and be proactive about it. Decide who to talk to, who to watch, what to notice, what questions to ask. The more you put into planning this period of time the more likelihood there is of finding it exciting and you getting your mojo back!