Ten years of teaching in 30 sentences

I have made rock hard, salty Tudor-style biscuits with a year 4 class that tasted utterly revolting. I have watched a child puke over another child’s head in year 2, while the second child sat still as vomit trickled down his shocked little face. I have experienced the utter chaos of a bird flying into the classroom on a Friday afternoon and depositing panicky poos on the desks, while a bird-phobic TA and children exited quickly. I have dealt with a pregnant mother going into labour during my first ever parents evening – she insisted I continue until the end of the appointment. I have had numerous tricky conversations with parents and carers. I have had tricky conversations with colleagues too. I have learned more about social services and the care system than I ever thought I would. I have advocated for looked after children and worked closely with social workers. I have sat in rooms with white walls while specially trained police officers have interviewed vulnerable children. I have made toast for children who came in hungry with no breakfast in their tummies. I have taught fractions, decimals and percentages to such an extent that I’m convinced everything that there is to know about this topic is now etched on my brain for eternity. I have had to tell a class that one of their classmate’s had leukaemia and explain to them what that meant. I have visited the child who had leukaemia at their home, every week, filling them in on what they had missed and getting teary-eyed at the constant pain they felt in their limbs, as their mum would massage them continuously. I have experienced the unexpected death of another pupil. I have lost my mind (and some of my patience) directing several year 6 final productions and been gleefully relieved when it was alright on the night, every time. I have marvelled at writing by 10 and 11 year olds that is just so brilliant and been convinced time and again that many adults couldn’t write so effectively. I have gone on strike when I felt it necessary. I have written or contributed to five books and many articles about teaching and tweeted – currently – approximately 34,400 mostly-education-related tweets. I have felt huge pride at winning a national award. I have been responsible for 30 children for four nights on a residential trip and barely managed a wink of sleep the entire time. I have lost even more sleep over children I have been concerned about. I have wanted to take children home with me on many occasions. I have never taken for granted how good it feels when you have those lightbulb moments when it all comes together and the children ‘get’ what it is you’ve been teaching them. I have experienced three Ofsted inspections as an NQT, a class teacher and subject leader and member of the senior leadership team. I have observed countless lessons at this point and worked on improving my feedback every time. I have found the best conversations with children often happen over lunch and so make time to eat with them regularly. I have said “good morning” and “have a good evening” countless times per day, while standing on the gate. I have never lost the enthusiasm to visit other schools and have a good nosey around. I have finally accepted that my ‘to do’ list is actually a ‘priority’ list because it will never, ever, be all ticked off and done. I have honestly never stopped learning – not once.

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