Am I good enough?

It’s a question that haunts me continuously, and from conversations I’ve had with peers and friends, haunts a lot of other people too.

Am I good enough for the project I’m about to embark on? This job I want to apply for? Or have applied for? To have that opinion? To be in this meeting? This room? At the table?

Often we look for outside clues that we might be good enough. Our boss telling us what a great job we are doing? Some good results? A positive outcome? The problem is much of that is fickle. It depends on what type of boss we have, the project or the multiple factors that affect it. As a result our self esteem takes a rollercoaster ride, sometimes high, sometimes low because of these factors.

Many of us have a date with imposter syndrome, more often than we’d like. I recently watched a video by Ali Abdaal, a youtube star who made his mark by offering advice to medical students being a junior doctor himself. In one of his videos he speaks about Imposter Syndrome and says ‘The thing is, you are an imposter.’ And that stopped me in my tracks. It makes sense doesn’t it. If you’re trying something new, a project, job, task, you are an imposter, you’ve never done it before. But that doesn’t have to stop us. Maybe we just accept that.

This got me thinking, maybe the question isn’t ‘Am I good enough?’ but ‘Am I getting better?’ Every time I embark on something knew that doesn’t guarantee success am I trying to get better? Again this can be a fickle beast if we look for reassurance from the outside world but if we set personal indicators it is a lot better. For instance writing a book for the first time? Some methods to get better are to write more, set yourself word targets, get editing software and look at the changes it is suggesting for your text to know how you can improve your writing etc… Starting a new job? Look at the job description and set yourself targets that you yourself can feedback on, for example if raising the quality of teaching, support struggling staff, meet with them regularly, set clear targets for them and help them achieve these, buddy them up with someone who demonstrates the skill set they are trying to develop. Often by helping others we feel good enough too.

So as I embark on branching out and trying projects beyond teaching my new question is ‘Am I getting better.’ And I’ll be the judge of that.

CPD: Returning to School

This is a collaboration post with Molly @Mimmerr

Some of us are back in school, some of us are still working from home. Regardless, we’d be particularly impressed if you weren’t fed up in some way with working life still being so different. In September, hopefully we will see settings that are reminiscent of the ones we loved before but we will still be teaching and working with staff and children that have lived through a traumatic time. We discuss below effective CPD that might be worth looking into before you return to the classroom, that will help everyone in education in a number of ways: mentally, academically or professionally.

Molly points you in the direction of some CPD on how to support students with anxiety for instance. Unfortunately, for some of our students the los may be more extreme. Below is a course that all staff who are coming in for face to face teaching for our Year 10s this week have completed.

  1. Whole school bereavement counselling

Unfortunately, many schools are likely to have students who have experienced a loved one having either a severe illness (Covid related or not) or even death, Winstons Wish offer a short online course for free to train staff to help children cope with grief. https://www.winstonswish.org/bereavement-training-courses-schools/

In addition to training ourselves on how to support the emotional wellbeing of our students we also need to think about unique challenges likely to be posed in the new academic year as they try to re-engage with their education after the summer which has followed a tumultuous term.

2. Student Motivation – This link leads to a brilliant talk by Caroline Spalding and Peps McGrea called Leveraging the science of motivation to optimise the return to school https://researched.org.uk/sessions/peps-mccrea-caroline-spalding-leveraging-the-science-of-motivation-to-optimise-the-return-to-school/ looks at building motivation and the elements that need to be in place for students to reengage with school. It offers some handy tips as teachers face the task of planning for a return in whatever shape it may take.

Managing your own wellbeing – Despite what you may read on the odd uninformed tweet everyone knows that teachers have been working hard during this time to ensure students are able to access their education online. At this point it is important to stress this is not a ‘working from home’ situation. If it were, your own children would be at school allowing you to focus on your work. Instead this is a ‘doing the best you can whilst at home’ situation. Teachers are working hard to balance their family and work life and the need to manage their own wellbeing is paramount.

3. Your own wellbeing

Hays is offering a ‘Why wellbeing first?’ free online course https://educationtraining.hays.co.uk/wellbeing-first/

Which looks at everything from Remote 101 to prioritisation, using gratitude to feel empowered and managing stress. Some staff may be feeling nervous about returning to the classroom. It always amazes me the nerves that take over after summer no matter how many years you have been in the profession. This year the break from classroom teaching will be longer than normal. This article by Happiful offers some little steps to build your confidence https://happiful.com/how-to-rebuild-confidence-post-lockdown/

Do check out Molly’s blog to find more three more courses that could help.