I love my current NQT to bits. She is a distillation of so many of the things I’ve seen in trainee teachers. The hope, the optimism, the perfectionism and the own-worst-enemy-ism. She’s honest, humorous, hard-working and full of integrity. Today, she worked herself into quite a pickle over a forthcoming Significant Day. I gave her a very good Talking To about looking after herself, faith in herself and faith that she is doing a Good Job. I assured her for the umpteenth time I would be entirely honest with her about next steps and areas for development (I hate the word ‘concern’ – I hate the words ‘areas for development’ almost as much). She voiced her worries about at leasts 26 consecutive issues, at least 80% of which were entirely hypothetical and out of her control. I heard her. My former self empathised hugely. I was stern and – I hope – kind in my middle-aged-experience. I told her to eat, sleep, watch crap TV and spend time with her partner. I told her nobody would win if she worked herself to the ground. I told her I had her back if not every piece of paper in her PGCE folder was filed to perfection.
I had a minor setback of my own today too. It was a busy day, so it didn’t get much airtime. But in the car one the way back, my brain relaxed into what-if scenarios. What if they’d noticed I didn’t iron (ever)? What if they just didn’t like me? What if I’d made a stupid, glaring error that would follow me forever?
The brain is an amazingly unhelpful thing at times. I sometimes wonder whether the female brain can be the least helpful of ever. What if I don’t land on my feet? What if? My children are happy and healthy. I love teaching. I am, by any measure available, thoroughly blessed.
My NQT herself has revealed truths and experiences that have left me thinking for hours and days. She’ll make a brilliant teacher – how do I convince her? How do WE keep her? Because we sure as hell need people like her.
Anyway, I gave myself a Good Talking To and ended up cackling at myself in the car. First signs of insanity? Well, they’re the kinds of signs I can live with.