Thursday, 9 July 2009

"Be Kind To Each Other"

Yesterday I received tragic news while I was in the middle of the school day. Thankfully, at the time, I wasn't teaching but I was amid moving classrooms. With textbooks strewn everywhere, all cupboards open and various keys laid across desks leaving my classroom didn't seem like much of an option but in shock I went into the corridor and burst into tears.

Superb colleagues rallied around to sweep up keys, lock cupboards and put textbooks away. They made tea, plied me with biscuits and took care of my responsibilities that were coming up in the next period. After I went back to my classroom one of my colleagues popped his head around the door and asked, "Ready for a hug yet?" This is no small gesture. I am not a touchy-feely person. I don't do hugs. But it was such a warm thing to do that it made a big difference to my day.

Dealing with other teachers when they hit their lows is a part of our job that isn't talked about much. We focus on the children, and that is right for the most part. But when someone is clearly distressed, and although it's very British, offering to make a cup of tea and lending an ear - if only for 5 minutes - is often the difference between a successful colleague and a burnt-out one.