If you asked my classes if I had a “catch phrase” I almost guarantee that you will get one response: “Focus”. Im not advocating that it is a particularly noble motto to be famous for amongst students but it is in truth what I find myself saying most these days. Focus isn’t only directed to wayward learners either. I encourage myself to focus each and every day. As a novice teacher I find myself suffering from the infamous flurry of the first few years of teaching. There is so much going on at school! So much to do, to think about and to improve on that I would go crazy trying to do everything at once.
Picture from Michael Dales: bit.ly/SMfocuspic
Instead, for my sanity, I focus. Each week I identify one idea or element of my teaching to devote extra effort to improving. In theory, I will eventually improve my teaching as a whole. This bite-sized focus approach allows me to positively approach the roller-coaster ride of wins and failures that is inherent in teaching.
It is important to stay positive during the storm that is the first few years of teaching. I have to consciously reinforce my belief in a growth mindset. No matter how rough or tough or enough of a day you have, try to focus on your learning. We may be challenged to persevere through countless failures but at the end of the day if you do not feel challenged you are not growing.
So in the battlefield of the school day remember to focus. Actively focus on your growth and development. And for the love of teaching: Enjoy yourself! This is the best and worst job in the world. So focus and you will survive!