Classroom desk with books piled on top and a backpack hanging from the chair.

This blog is reproduced here with permission. Written by Ian McDaid on his blog on 15th May 2023.

Preface from Emma

I’m constantly struck by the narratives around our profession and am acutely sensitive to how they play into the ongoing and serious recruitment and retention crisis in teaching. Whilst it’s important to call out poor practice and be honest about challenges, it is also essential that we remember that working with young people is a privilege and is frequently joyful and rewarding. I came across this blog during what feels like a particularly dark period in our profession, when something bordering on despair seemed to pervade my interactions and my social media and it was a poignant and essential reminder of how wonderful this job can be, despite everything.

What It’s Also Like to Be a Teacher

“Good morning Sir, had a good weekend?” That was my first interaction with a pupil today. However it wasn’t the first interaction since leaving school on Friday. Over the weekend I received this:

“Hi sir, I just want to inform you that I will be going on holiday on Saturday 20th May so will be missing the last week of term. This is a one off holiday and I my attendance this year has been 100% so far.

My parents did inform the school on the 5th February with a leave of absence form, but I was unsure if the attendance team had informed you.

Do I have to let all my individual teachers know?

Kind regards, ********”

Day then continues with praising a form for their attendance last week, and bigging up all last week’s achievement points awarded.

First lesson of the day… a timetable rotation mix up. I’ve got a whole class of kids sitting in a room, books open and raring to go. It’s the wrong class! Off they trot to where they should be and the correct class arrive shortly after.

Parental email to respond to, querying a detention ending with the words “if this is the case you have my full support”.

Break duty, always tricky, but more positives to take away. What stood out was the politeness of the student who wanted access to the lift. Good manners always appreciated and make a huge difference. Also spoke to some Y11s who were positive about the RS GCSE they just sat.

Practical lesson with Y8. Engaging, happy hour, with loads of achievement points awarded for outstanding work. Yes, a few positive rule reminders needed, but that is the norm.

After lunch I see a student I teach looking anxious about attending a lesson. I acknowledge that she looks agitated, and tell her to take a few mins to compose herself. I’m thanked by her. Without kindness we have nothing in schools.

Last lesson of the day was the most challenging. An example of one or two students wanting to rule the airwaves. Yes, sanctions were applied, more than I’d like, but that is why systems exist – to support teachers so we can get on and teach. Take away from that lesson “is it as easy as this?”, says the previously sanctioned pupil!!

Let’s see what tomorrow brings… other than a fresh start for every pupil.

Image by Freepik