So this year, my one word is 'confidence'. I think that as a community this is something that most teachers battle with. I'm not talking about our personal confidence; I can be quite confident in familiar social situations. What this blog will look at it is my professional confidence, my belief in myself as a teacher and that I have something of value to say.
I think this lack of self-belief comes from the constant judgements being made on our teaching capabilities - even as student teachers, lessons or teaching practice is judged, crudely put - you pass or fail. There it is, that dreaded word: failure.
No teacher is perfect. I know that is an easy statement to write, but personally, it's a hard one to accept. I strive for perfection and the best in everything. I learned the hard way in my NQT year that I can't perfect every lesson of every day of every week. While I've always had good feedback in observations and understand the value of 'constructive criticism'. I've always felt a bit of a failure, as if one day some one is going to take the job I love away from me, that I would fail.
It has taken 4 years for my confidence to develop professionally. Perhaps four years too long. So what changed? While experience has contributed to my acceptance that I do a 'good job', it is more than that.
The Internet: starting this blog as a student, along with my twitter account was probably the single most important step in believing in myself. People, teachers, some of whom I do not know read this blog (thank you), taking time out of their already busy day to read something that I've written. Wow! The same is true of twitter. I never imagined that I would end up with over 500 followers. Again, these are people who are interested in what I've got to say (I know in the grand scheme, 500 is tiny, but to me it's amazing!). Again, thank you.
Finally, I consider myself fortunate to be part of an incredibly welcoming primary science community. It is this community that have helped my develop my confidence and take the "I'm only a class teacher" mentality and shake it off. Through regularly attending the ASE annual conference and taking part in the ever important, challenging but ultimately rewarding PSQM process, I've begun to make connections with colleagues I hold in high regard and develop working relationships with, all helping to develop my teacher confidence.As a result, I've presented at the ASE primary pop-up lunchtime session, just finished my first article for Primary Science and I'm considering running a workshop at next year's ASE conference.
It's been an incredibly journey, hard work, but as the old adage goes: you reap what you sow. This has only been accomplished by working with other teachers, embracing the teaching community and accepting I have something to contribute.
My final note is to say go for it, trust your self. You CAN do it. Go to a TeachMeet, head to the ASE conference, tweet, join a Facebook group. Just don't keep yourself isolated. If I can do it - you most certainly can.
Further info: PSQM (Primary Science Quality Mark): www.psqm.org.uk
ASE (Association of Science Education): www.ase.org.uk