On a personal note, this book came into my life right when I needed it most.....my first year of teaching!! Wow, nothing can prepare you for it, many of us have dreams of what it could, should and will look like but oh dear me that is just not the reality!!
My reality was a 21 year old girl, pretending that she had life together, thinking she was a grown up. Leaving the comforts and safety of a life I had made with my University friends in Newcastle and my family in the emerald isle, Ireland, moving to an inner city London school.
Nothing prepares you for your first year but I think one thing that can help is the idea of Acceptance vs Expectations.
This quote represents one of my biggest #toptiptakeaways from the book. I feel like when I started teaching vs now, my most notable change is the pressure I put on myself.
When I started teaching I felt like I was the only one who was suffering and I had to do so in silence because I didn't have all the answers but I felt everyone around me did.
However, it was only when I started asking questions and sharing my worries or struggles, that I started to see that many people didn't have a clue either haha!
Richard and I talk about this our interview, we discuss the idea that in many different paths we expect to be experts as soon as we start the job. And in many circumstances these expectations don't only come from within, they are a direct expectation from the systems around us as well.
For teachers in most countries we are getting observed from the start. For example in England, we are striving for 'outstanding' right from the get go. I know as part of my journey, observations use to be the end of the world for me because of the pressure I would put on myself.
Going back to the idea of expectations vs acceptance. I was expecting myself to have it all sussed out in my first few weeks of teaching rather than accepting the journey I had to go on, like Richard says in the video above, to develop my craft.
This quote represents one of my biggest learning curves and it is something I have been working on every day since I made the inner realisation.
One of the things I am now grateful for in my life is that I didn't want for anything growing up, I had a loving family and a good bunch of friends, many who I still have today. Of course I had bumps and bruises along the way but nothing compared to the lives of many children who have touched my heart so far.
And that was where my inner challenge lay on a daily basis- why was I struggling mentally when on paper I had so much to be grateful for? That's when I learnt about the importance of grit and resilience! I was expecting everything to be perfect rather than accepting that life has its ups and down and we need to allow for them both.
Resilience: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
And that is certainly not what I was doing. On the outside, for many people who didn't know the true me I was showing no signs of weakness and for those who did know me, knew other wise. Because on the inside I was dwelling on every little thing, criticising myself, replaying all the bad and not appreciating all the good!
This was my biggest turning point to date and now, I really can say I feel at peace with myself (most days).
I have accepted that things don't always go to plan. I have accepted that as long as I am open to growth every day I will improve and get better for not only myself but for those around me. And most importantly, I have accepted that I am responsible for myself, of course certain environments can make me flourish over others, but overall it is my actions and choices that impact the world I create around me.
This quote in the book is from Gary, a past pupil of Richard's. His story was a heartfelt but practical outlook on life. And a reflection of someone who holds himself accountable for his actions and the results he sees in his life.
During this post, I have reflected on old mental models that were not helping me and my transition into new more productive mental models, which I continue to develop each day.
Which mental models do you think you need to weed out to help you be your best self? Which mental models do you want to help instill in those who you have influence over?
Practical Ideas Section: Our choices have an impact - What impact will you have?
Here are some slides I created to use with my learners at Stonefields School, where our vision is to grow resilient learners who can take meaningful action in their lives.
These slides are heavily influenced by the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy approach, where you catch the negative or positive thoughts you are having, challenge those thoughts and gather practical evidence to see if the thought is actually true or not and then create new thoughts that align with what is happening in reality.
In today's current climate there is so much change going on for ourselves and our little ones. You may want to use this resource to support yourself or support the conversations with children.
The story we tell ourselves in our heads and the vocabulary we use is the most important story we can tell. What story are you telling?
Ps, if you are now intrigued by this book, here is a link for it so you can check it out for yourself :)