When Good Is Not Good Enough

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Ann-Marie is an early year's teacher based in Kent. She has experienced early years in a variety of settings from the baby room up to the reception classroom. Alongside her teaching experience she has also had the opportunity of leading a reception team. Her writing...
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Are you good enough to teach?

I would argue that most teachers have experienced a bout of “I am not good enough-itis“. That’s the funny thing about teachers, we are reflective creatures who aim to continuously grow and develop.

There are definite links between low staff morale and poor mental health in teachers. Although being reflective is a critical personality trait for successful teachers, it can, if not kept under control, be the very thing that leads to our demise. We start to feel guilty and doubt ourselves. If we were a Pokémon we would be a reflective type with “self-criticism” as our main ability at 200HP. There is no denying that teachers feel both mentally and physically battered. Here are some of the many contributing factors.

1. Everyone’s a critic

Some teachers have commented that they feel as if they are constantly being watched and judged. As many teaching practitioners will know there are days when everything just goes out the window and nothing productive occurs. There are so many contributing factors as to why a day may not run as usual such as: behaviour which causes disruptions, first aid, toilet issues… the list goes on.

When a teacher has those days, what we don’t need is another adult reminding us of this or talking to others about this. Teachers and children are imperfect human beings… not perfect robots and things will inevitably go pear-shaped.

2. “It’s Ofsted’s fault”…

There are some who believe that in order to achieve a great grading from Ofsted that we need to do an insurmountable amount of work. Five different coloured highlighters, 2 responses, purple pens, red pens … hours and hours of work for nothing. What I admire is the leadership teams who has the courage and conviction to really understand that this is not what Ofsted are looking for.

3. It’s all on you!

When did the relationship between parents and teachers change?

Years ago it was clear that teachers were respected and we cared about their opinions. Many teachers have reported that they have been confronted by a parent in a way that would not be appropriate conduct in any other sector. These confrontations can be demoralising and really take a mental toll on our teaching staff. These are just a taste of the many contributing factors that are causing an increase in teacher mental health lapses – and something must be done about it!

We need to start taking care of our teachers and stop breaking them down. Perfection is not the goal… great, sustainable and consistent teaching is. Good is definitely good enough and we don’t need to feel guilty.

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