I was recently brought back down to earth with a massive bump by my oldest school friend, Birchy. We have been friends since we were 11 and she’s always been my hero. She was the oldest in the year group with a 1st of September birthday so that automatically made her cool as she would be 16 before anyone else. She dared to actually talk to real boys and she was allowed to wear makeup so she was more of a goddess than Kim Wilde in my teenage eyes!
We ring each other every few weeks for a catch up and last week she asked me how work was like you do. I took a deep breath, took centre stage and began my monologue about how hard Term 6 was and how much there was to do with a delivery to put Olivier to shame. I’d barely got into my stride when she interrupted saying “Never mind all that rubbish, I want to know what the kids are up to”. I stopped dead in my tracks feeling like I’d had a virtual smack in the nose. I instantly became quite ashamed of my tirade of self-pity and the fact that in all of the busyness I had lost sight of what really matters.
All of my life I have done things to seek approval. From making sure my umlauts were correctly positioned so my German teacher nodded kindly to making sure my risk assessments are all up to date to survive the H&S gestapo auditor. This short, sharp reality check made me realise that these things really don’t matter. What matters is the children in our care. We have the power to change lives, to really make a difference, to really weave magic. There is no better therapy than walking through school and a curve ball hug grabbing you from nowhere. The best compliment I have ever received professionally is ‘I love you so much I want to hug you so hard you trump’. Young children and flatulence is always endearing. We need to remember that the most important thing to children some days is when we are having fish fingers next! By having the reassurance that they are on this week’s menu means they can concentrate on the phonics lesson rather than worrying about the disappearance of their favourite breaded lunch. Little things make such a big difference when you’re 6 and we need to remember that even though it does not appear on any of our profession’s frameworks or standards and is not benchmarked it is important and a vital element of school life.
So let’s start measuring our success in smiles and making children happy rather than OfSted. With this in mind I am abandoning my calculator next week and going to Blackpool with our Year 6 classes where I can giggle, eat junk food (don’t tell the Slimming World leader) and scream like a banshee on the rides helping children to make memories they will never forget.
Need to check on the fish fingers first though ….