Support: helping a colleague because you care how they are coping.
Support: something you are threatened with when things aren't going well?
It is (usually) good to hear about good practice in your teaching and hear about an initiative you might want to incorporate into your teaching. However, the pressure on teachers is huge at the moment. We can't work hard enough, we can always do more.
All of this is really important because ofsted will put you in special measures or in our case we won't be able to attract new students.
Focusing on targets, exam grades, attracting students etc can seem like a treadmill you can't get off and every step takes more effort than the last one. I know that there is a lot of people feeling pressure in schools at the moment.
How did we start the term? A focus on the strategic plan and some ludicrous suggestions about how we will track students without using levels?
We started with the school vicar asking us to consider each other and not to be afraid to show our vulnerabilities. This is just not something I would ever expect to hear in the previous schools I have worked at. As with every body of staff there are teachers facing issues bigger than being three weeks behind with their marking. To start the year with a focus on each other and supporting each other is a real comfort to me and my colleagues. Having worked at schools where competition between staff is encouraged and requiring support is a bad thing the presence of the vicar is very welcome.
Of course, the vicar isn't necessary for this to happen, a school that encourages support and honesty between staff doesn't have to be religious. Perhaps it is the presence of the outside/non-teacher that helps. Yes, she sees her job as trying to evangelise us so that we can gain eternal life through belief in Jesus. ("I am the way..." etc was quoted today). Yet, compassion and consideration for others is also something she brings as part of her job.
As someone who is not religious I am not sure I would go to the vicar directly for support and comfort, but it is nice to know someone has our welfare as her priority.
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