This is the seventh part of my Reflection Series for 2017 – a self-reflection of my teaching this year.
Who amongst your colleagues was the most helpful to you?
As per usual, this year I found it was my colleagues in my staff room who were the most helpful to me.
At our school we are in smaller staff rooms with mixed subject areas. This year I was with 7 other teachers and our subject areas were science, math, business and IT. Usually they are even more diverse than that – the idea was to mix subject areas so that teachers could get to know a variety of different staff members and not feel restricted to their own teaching areas. Each year you would be assigned a new staff room with a different mix of people (though that is changing from 2018 I believe).
The people in my staff room this year were absolutely lovely. Everyone was always happy to answer questions, provide advice, and generally just have a chat.
They were all happy to share ideas and pedagogical approaches, sometimes even actual resources, and I could count on them to help me unpick and reflect on lessons and students. I didn’t teach any of the same students as any of the other teachers there, but some of them knew individuals in my classes from previous years (and I knew some of their students too). It meant we could help each other out with specific issues, and suggest ways to approach students and content that had worked for us in the past.
They were also a fantastic bunch in that no one ever doubted my ability to do anything (at least not that I am aware of!). When I took on each new pre-service teacher, there were no questions as to whether I was ‘good enough’ to do so. When I talked about trying new things, or even re-writing the curriculum, again there was nothing there but support and ideas. No one looked down on me for having my own self-belief and confidence in my ability, which spurred me along leaps and bounds.
Those teachers also supported me though my pregnancy, which I’m sure was no easy feat. They pretended to not know in the first trimester, when I was going through morning sickness and turned away from a lot of food (and tea!). We shared a lot of food in that staff room, so I’m sure they cottoned on pretty quick when I started turning things down. Then when I told them, they were all so happy for me – they even kept the lolly jar well stocked, since lollies seemed to settle my stomach and keep me going! Throughout the year everyone kept an eye on me and helped out when I needed it, no matter what the situation was. They encouraged me to get my playground duty areas changed so I would be out of the sun and away from the oval and basketball courts. They talked me into going home on those few days when I was very dizzy or nauseous and shouldn’t have been at school in the first place.
They certainly made 2017 a very pleasant year for me, with all the ups and downs that come with this job!
Who were the most helpful colleagues for you in 2017?