The internal dialogue that goes on in my head during my standard teaching day runs a few parallel conversations at once. The first is like a radio sports commentator. It rattles off the happenings, the plans, the moment to moment. It tries to keep track, it’s trying to be everywhere at once. It’s all going so fast, I’m definitely behind. No I’m just in front in the wrong direction. Aaaaarh!
The second voice is a crusty little naysayer specialising in self-doubt, self-deprecation and anxiety. This voice keeps a running commentary on what I think I’m doing badly.
The third voice is like a desperate overworked nurse. Fussing and tutting and pouting and sighing. Uttering encouragement and motivational pep talk that can easily get drowned out by voices One and Two. This is the ‘I just need a cup of tea and to have 5 minutes away from the children and it doesn’t mean I don’t love them’ voice.
These three voices squabble and compete for my attention and often they don’t leave me with much peace of mind. I’m hyper conscious of everything I am ‘achieving’ throughout the school day and the sense that I am walking the wrong way up an escalator is recurrent (thanks sports commentator voice). I am also prone to negativity (thanks naysayer voice!) that has definitely had an effect on my self-esteem both as a teacher and as a person generally. The third voice (nurse voice) is the one trying to hold things together, but like putting a plaster on a gaping wound, the placations might be temporarily soothing, but they don’t necessarily tackle the underlying cause of injury.
In a way, this blog is an attempt to introduce a fourth voice to my inner-teacher dialogue. A voice that brings my internal perspectives together, that validates them (because even negative voices are valid) but also puts them in perspective and holds them to account. This is something that, I believe, writing can do.
Coming up in The Visionary I will discuss teacher journaling, some inspirational teacher writers and strategies for making your internal teacher talk healthily critical, rather than self-defeating.
Coming up in The SQ I will be discussing teacher self-esteem and the impact of continuous negative dialogue, self-doubt and self-criticism on teacher’s confidence, anxiety and mental health generally.
Thanks for reading.
A daunted but determined teacher irons out the creases of her brain.