This is the top secret tip they don’t teach you at teacher training college. Prior to stepping across the threshold of the school site, be sure to press the button that activates your ‘shit shield’. This is the shield that will help protect your sanity, reduce your stress and make you effective at your job in the most trying of circumstances. It is key to becoming that teacher you have always aspired to be. Perhaps more importantly it helps stop you becoming the staff room mood hoover; the person who sucks the joy and positivity out of the staff room and who feels that they are clearly the most hard done by.
Take today, for instance. A few rounds of the f-bomb were launched in my direction. No problem. They bounced back at their irate launcher as I responded in a calm and relaxed manner. As I glanced up from my desk I saw a pair of legs at the top of the window. That’ll be a pupil headed for the roof. Send for back up, carry on teaching. No stress. Pupil refusing to work and screaming loudly — shit shield booster applied — a nice rendition of a German folk song in my tuneless singing voice. Screaming pupil promised to stop if I did. Problem solved. No stress. Pupil in the corridor seeking conflict? No dramas, distract with the staff baby photo display. Pupil physically hurting a younger pupil, now that’s tricky. A few deep breaths and in we go to reason with the aggressor (who as it happens was vile). The good old shit shield took a battering there but I came out of it calm and intact.
The key to success in these situations is to accept, absolutely and totally, that this behaviour is not intended personally. It may look that way to the untrained eye but the fact remains that it quite simply is not. Once you are able to come to terms with this little nugget, you are on the start line towards becoming an oasis of calm. If it doubt, slow your walk a fraction, take a few deep breaths and then stroll towards the issue. Absolutely, definitely so not walk past it, simply make sure you are in the right frame of mind to deal with it.
P.S. The shit shield can be re-inforced with the consumption of chocolate in absolute emergencies………