Calver, who stresses no matter how good a teacher is, there is always more to be unlocked and explored, is currently completing a post-graduate diploma in education at the University of Auckland with a study grant from TeachNZ.
Those she mentors, are not always “struggling”, she says, but just interested in improving their practice.
However, with daily stresses increasing in the teaching profession, there are many teachers around New Zealand who are in fact, struggling.
Calver says there are not any quick tips for struggling teachers.
“Only long, hard, soul-searching slogs of self-reflection and open-to-learning conversations.”
However, she offers a few thoughts on what teachers can do if they are drowning in work, need some advice or a fresh perspective:
- Know you are not the first. Teaching is difficult and most teachers struggle at some point in their career. Good teachers have rough patches and what makes them good teachers is what they do next - seek support to get through it and back-up to their A- game.
- Reach out now – do not wait to see if it gets worse. It is much better to be the one seeking support rather than having support thrust upon you in the wake of student or parent complaints. It also doesn’t make sense to put yourself through any more or longer suffering than necessary – get on to getting it sorted sooner than later.
- The person you ask might not have the answers you need, so keep asking. A colleague you trust, your head of department/faculty/syndicate, your school’s specialist classroom teacher or head of professional learning are good places to start for resources and advice.
But if you don’t find what you need – keep looking. You might need to go through a few brush-offs or well-intentioned-but-not-particularly-useful-advice sessions before you find the right ‘fit’. You can also team up with a peer who might also need support in different areas – you will have advice to offer as reciprocal support. If particularly isolated – Facebook groups, online mentoring, friends at other schools might be options too.