Fessing Up.

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I knew I’d have to do it, but frankly, for the past month it hasn’t seemed real and this week it’s all become real. It’s happening. I’m moving on. I got a new job. Bloody hell! I actually got the job!

The other teachers have been slowly hearing that I’ve got a sparkly new job through the grapevine and I’ve had more than one conversation with people who range between shocked to envious, to unsurprised. In general, I’ve been sparkly about it. This is exciting! I am totally stoked about my new school and the job sounds wonderful.

And then I got the conversation I’ve been living in denial about. Thankfully it was an email, but as I suspected, it made it real and brought tears.

{names have been changed to protect the usual}

Dear Mrs B,

I have heard that you may be leaving next year, I know this is probably confidential information but it really makes a difference to my a level choices so if you are I would love it if you could let me know.

Many thanks,

A student

My first response was to say that they should chose their subjects based on the subject! (I’m hoping they didn’t mean that if I was indeed leaving, then they’d want to take it up!). But, I confirmed my impending departure with a request for discretion as I want to talk to students in my own way (and time).

My decision was met with a lovely email thanking me for my trust. And I do trust them. I have a huge respect for my students and in the most part they return this to me in droves. Of all things, they in no way were a factor in my decision to move on. If anything, my avoidance of fessing up to the students is quite largely down to a nagging feeling of abandoning them. They have shown me a new love of computing constantly. I’ve played binary games with them, acted out classes and inheritance using funny hats and elf shoes (whole other post), created chocolate algorithms, and most of all been delighted by watching them fall in love with computer science that I didn’t do until my 20s. They have the world in their hands, and for many of them I have encouraged badgered them to take up them subject. And now I’m leaving them.

I am leaving them with some excellent teachers. Some outstanding teachers (literally) who I have massive respect for. But like every teacher, I am emotionally involved. I care deeply for the kids I teach and this is just an enhanced version of how I feel each time a year group graduates from the sixth form. You know the future is bright and it’s time to spread their wings, but there’s a little bit inside you that is so sad because you will miss them. You have a cry, and then in September, you meet new faces that you care for.

I understand more and more why you remember your teachers. What people sometimes forget is that teachers remember you with just as much fondness sometimes.

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Why being a Frog is better than a Prince(ss)

I feel very calm. I don’t often feel calm and it’s a bit weird. It’s the week of the mocks, the actual exam module results come out next week, my boss is away leaving me in charge of a major bit of school software and we’re neck deep in coursework. I shouldn’t be calm, I should be passing out with stress.

It’s just that I’ve discovered stoicism and it’s hit a raw nerve with me. I feel I ought to explain the frog reference, but bear with me for just a little bit longer. The concept of stoicism is to look at situations that cause us emotional distress with a realistic eye. How bad could this actually be? Am I being irrational about how bad this actually is? And even if it isn’t an ideal situation, do I actually have the power to change it? Well, in a nutshell (there’s a fair bit more).

But now for the amphibian metaphor…

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I have been a princess for far too long. I had hugely high expectations of myself and those around me and was (ok, am) massively disappointed when people, including me fall short of these. I considered myself personally responsible for the actions or outcomes of those around me, and most importantly, I clung (cling) to familiar routines and places to create a sense of security. As such, I have lived in a constant panic that the throne might be moved from under me and I will fall flat on my arse.

Instead, I’m aspiring to be a frog. I’m sitting on a lily pad and sunning myself. While I’m here, I’ll assess what’s going on in the pond and when the time is right, I’ll either dive into the pool or hop onto another lily pad to do some more rational assessing of my surroundings.

Frogs don’t obsess over maintaining a kingdom. Frogs aren’t obsessed with constantly looking like the right kind of frog – as frogs go, squishy is about as good as it gets. Frogs don’t try to control those around them – if a stalk swoops, they take evasive action (or get eaten), but they can’t influence the stalk; if a fly lands close, they eat it. Frogs don’t have expectations of their surroundings – if the lily sinks, there are plenty more.

Being a princess is high maintenance and bad for the blood pressure (as my GP has informed me on several occasions). Being a frog gives you the power to let things go.

What good will it do to worry about the exam results now? I can’t change them. I did my absolute best to provide the best learning environment possible.
What’s the worst that could happen if they’re bad? I could lose my grade 1 teacher status. People would think badly of me.
Why am I so scared of that? Why is being ‘top of the class’ so important to me? Is this a need for approval? And if so, if striving for a seemingly unattainable goal is the only route to approval, then is it time to shift the goal posts? And is it in my power to do so? Because if I have no power to change it, then worrying won’t make a jot of difference and it could be a lot worse.

So, for now, I’m a frog and it’s time to ride the lily pad.

A quick thank you to a new follower. I most definitely am becoming a happster. Ribbit.

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