Learning as I go

Being a teacher, I’m always trying to teach my pupils something. Whether it’s how to write a story, or add a bunch of figures, how to make a PowerPoint or fingerspell their name, how to be a good friend or how use your knife and fork, I believe that there’s always an opportunity to learn, to teach, to share.

I’m always amazed too by what I learn while I’m in school. And I don’t just mean all the little bits of marvellous trivia I soak up like a sponge from my gang of ruffians (I know loads about really bizarre and awesome little boy interests!). I mean the really big stuff. Yes, like that famous piece ‘All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten‘ I find that school teaches me an awful lot.

The statements below are all things I encourage in my pupils, and recently I’ve been thinking on them a lot. It occurred to me in June that I really needed to practice what I preach, and I have to say I’ve been a tonne happier since I took my own sayings on board and applied them to my own life!

The ones I focused on?

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

I must say this to my pupils about 90 times a week. And yet earlier this year I found myself in a bit of a rut. Doing the same things, the safe things, over and over. This summer I’ve been putting myself out there a bit more and it feels divine. I hope I can keep doing so.

Be gentle.

And that means with everyone. I think I was often gentle with Matthew and my friends and family (for the most part), but with people I didn’t know or people who actively antagonised me and especially with myself I could get frustrated. I feel now I’m moving to a more gentle place – we are, after all, all precious, flawed beings. A little gentleness goes a long way…

Have fun.

There were times this academic year where I lost sight of the fun. Even in a job you love, the tiny 5% negative part can swoop down and swallow all the fun if you let it. I’m feeling more centred now and hope this focus will help next year. I have also tried to make my life a little lighter and more fun – yes, the dishes do need to be done and letters replied to and displays planned, but I know I need to make time to read, and snuggle, and laugh.

Try hard.

And if it goes wrong? Try harder.

Anger and sadness are not “bad” things. How we deal with them can cause problems, however!

With my boys, this is usually a falling out, or a blue day, and generally talking or having a good stomp can solve things (as can a chat with parents / other teachers / other pupils). I, however, am not a talker (I’m a chatterbox, absolutely. But when I have a big bad problem? I close up like you wouldn’t believe). So I had to find positive outlets – going to the gym rather than eating my own body weight in chocolate. Watching a soppy movie and having a good cry. Trying to talk more about things…. Although Mssrs. Ben & Jerry can still help a little!

Laugh. Lots.

For reals.

Be honest.

Be honest with people and with yourself.

Look after yourself.

I often zip myself down to the bottom of the list, but this summer I have learned to be a little selfish. I am no good to anyone if I am tired and stressed and unhealthy. Earlier nights, more time at the gym, more time with friends, a little less wiiiiiine. It all adds up!

Be inquisitive.

It feels so good to be reading again! I am hoping to add a nightclass and some study to this too – it feels so good to use my mind again, it was feeling a tad lumpen this year.


Play games, be silly, enjoy! I’ve really started to make time for play recently, and it’s such fun! Whether it’s Christmas shopping in August or playing a parlour game with my friends or just fooling around with the ladies at water workout, it’s good to giggle and play!

Be a good friend.

I always *try* to be a good friend, but now I am really really working on this. My friends are like my extended family, so I owe them the best friend I can be!

Learn from others.

Those wonderful friends of mine are so clever…so is Matthew…so are my family…so are my colleagues….so are my pupils….so are the instructors at my gym….so are the bloggers I read. There is so much I can learn!

Realise the race is only with yourself.

It doesn’t matter if someone is prettier / cleverer / kinder than me. What matters is how I am doing, measured by my own standard. This makes going to the gym a lot more fun, I can tell you – I’m more focused on my progress, not that of the guy next to me!

Find what you love, and do it often.

That’s what I’m talking about! 🙂

So those were the ‘pearls of wisdom’ I could recall passing on to my pupils this year. They are just a bunch of thoughts and feelings, stuff I think is important. I love being in a job where I can watch children decide who they are going to be. What pearls would you pass on?

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  1. Amy Nabors
    4th August 2010 / 11:57 am

    Very good things to remember. My advice would be do not be afraid to be yourself. Hope your school year goes well.

  2. deb
    5th August 2010 / 2:57 am

    Claire,thank you so much for your kind words re my guest post with Emily today. She is such an inspiration isn't she.I so so wanted to be a teacher when I was younger, and then was discouraged, and then life happened. I love that you are taking such an intentional and motivated approach to such a vocation. With 5 kids ages 21-12 you can imagine how teachers are and have been invaluable to us. bless you in this always.

  3. David and Emily McKay
    6th August 2010 / 1:15 pm

    I really enjoyed your rules! Thanks for sharing.

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