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My First Blog Post

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

Teaching – are we pushing ourselves too much?

4 weeks into the new school term and I don’t make it to lunch time on the Monday because I’m too poorly. Which leaves me questioning… do we push ourselves too hard at work, when we would be replaced within a week?

Many people seem to think as teachers, we are in a privileged position. Work 9-3 and get all these holidays. However this couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s more like work 7-5 at school and often have stuff to do when we get home and at a weekend. People also don’t see that we work through the holidays: planning, marking, resource making. They also don’t realise that a lot of the time we use our own money to spend on our classrooms to make them engaging and interesting for the children.It’s only if you are friends with a teacher or related to one that you understand fully what we go through on a daily basis. My mum has seen me for the last five years, preparing, marking and planning etc. However, it wasn’t until she came to work with me to help out on a couple of school trips that she fully understood.

We have to put up with a lot. Changing goal posts, data, marking, assessments, trying to fit children that are square pegs into the governments round holes. The useless numpties in parliament don’t seem to get that all children are different and therefore learn differently and will not all meet the same targets at the same time.

We run ourselves into the ground to make sure we provide the best leaning environment for the children in our care. But seem to forget about our own well being – both our physical and mental health.

My school is actually good at making sure we take care of ourselves and we have well-being days, as well as staff keep fit, nights out etc. Slt are the most supportive I have seen in all the schools I have been in. My year lead is amazing – he’s told me to go to him about anything, especially with my anxiety, and makes me feel part of a working team not just a spare part.

But today has made realise I have been working myself too hard. I’ve worked 14 days in a row, but haven’t given my body time to rest after starting to feel unwell last week. It has been instilled in me from a young age that you don’t take time off unless you are really poorly, so I will always try to work even if I feel under the weather.

Sometimes we just have to give in to our bodies and listen when we need to rest and recover.

Teachers – take care of yourselves, our wellbeing is just as important as children’s. Remember They need us at our best in order to become their best 😊

New ventures

It’s been a while since I last posted on my blog.

Don’t worry though… there has been good reasons.

1. I’m now back at work after a wonderful summer off. Loving my new class, being in year 3 with a wonderful team. After the stress from last year and the not so nice atmosphere down in my previous year group, it is a nice change to feel supported and that my opinion matters. I moved up with my year group from year 2 to year 3, however, I have a different class, which had its own challenges. The children know me though and my expectations. Plus they keep me laughing every day.

This week has been full of laughs and fun. On Thursday we had an Ancient Greek afternoon to introduce our topic. All the teachers and children dressed up in togas and we brought in Greek food for the children to try. I had a failed attempt to teach my class how to do some dancing. Everyone seemed to enjoy it though.

I have to say, I was glad when Friday evening came, as I was knackered and needed a big sleep.

2. I am now tutoring 3 times a week after work and at a weekend. Both boys are brilliant and need help with their learning in different ways.

I didn’t think I would enjoy tutoring. Other people had mentioned it as a way of earning some extra cash, but I wasn’t sure I would be able to take more time do tutor on top of working full time.

However, it turns out I really enjoy it. It doesn’t feel like work and isn’t stressful. It’s more fun, and it’s important to me that the boys enjoy their lessons rather than thinking of it as extra work.

I know mum is worried about me putting extra stress on myself and that I’ll be too tried. However, I feel like it’s doing me good. I’m out of the house meeting me people, and doing the job I love. If anything I’m actually feeling more relaxed than I have in a long time.

New ventures with more exciting things to come 😊

Anxiety

Anxiety. It’s a funny word. Attached to it comes a lot of stigma, just like any mental illness.

My bumbling, messy journey with anxiety probably started way before I was even aware of it.

It wasn’t until I ended up being carted off to North Mids hospital in an ambulance for the second time in 2 months, in 2015, that I started to realise that the stabbing pains and dizziness I was experiencing, was actually down to stress and anxiety, not to gallstone as we thought on my first visit to A&E.

I hate hospitals, most people do. My fear of them comes from seeing my grandma there it what I referred to as the ‘ nutty ward’ where I was convinced she did not need to be.

Flash forward to July 2015, alone in a strange hospital with no one I knew and a dying battery, I was terrified and didn’t love the thought of doctors prodding and poking. I remember them having to calm me down as they tried to fit and iv drip into my arm. It was freezing thanks to the air con and all I wanted was my mum. They took me to the ward at about 1am and I tried to sleep. The next morning the priding and poking my poor tummy started again and was sent off for an ultrasound. I was starving at this point as I was nil by mouth until I’d had the scan. Gallstones was still the potential cause at the time.

Secretly I was quite glad to be there and not on placement. My mentor wasn’t the nicest person in the world and made me feel like I was incompetent of doing anything. Hence the stomach pains and feeling sick. I was convinced I was going to fail my placement and lose out on my dream job of being a teacher. Thankfully my tutor from uni was on my side. Doses up to my eye balls on as sack full of painkillers I went off home, after spending all day on the ward on the hottest day of the year with no air con. (Freezing in A&E. Boiling on the ward).

Being around family seemed to help. But panic attacks were still common. I went off home to mums for the summer and thought things would be better. But a month into my NQT year I had the stabbing tummy pains again and collapsed at school. Back I went to the fun factory. Only the doctors weren’t as nice that time. The drip wasn’t in my arm properly so the machine connecting it was peeping all night, there was a lady shouting for help and someone else arguing with the doctor. Recuse the near day came in the form of auntie Sue. I was told I wasn’t staying at home on my own so we went to get some over night things and off to Barnet we went.

My cousin’s wife and daughter came round the next morning to be with my and uncle Dave. Auntie sue rang throughout the day to check I had eaten and taken my tablets. Annie cuddles was the best therapy for me 😊

After getting the all clear and was diagnosed with anxiety. I was offered tablets which I declined and decided to try counselling (for the 3rd time) it didn’t work. So I gave up and asked for medication. I just wanted to be able to sleep properly, as night terrors were a regular things.

They tablets seemed to work for a bit, but then last year so much change happened at my old school that my head didn’t seem to handle it. I applied for a new job and left the ‘fun factory’ in July 2018. It was the right choice… oh so I thought.

I was hoping new school. New people, no dreaded thought of ofsted.

It wasn’t so bad to start off with. Though panic attacks were still happening when observations loomed. I was struggling with the behaviour of one child in particular. The doctor upped my medication to help with the undue stress and the pressure that came with being in a sats year group. This last year has many ups and downs. I think it was the right choice to move schools and am looking forward to this next year.

But anxiety is still there in the back of my mind. Whether it’s worry about money, or family, or the most annoying housemate in the world. I am having good days and bad days. Saturday (3/8/19) was a bad day. I had gone into central London with my boyfriend as we were going to the cat cafe. But on the way back the tube was really busy and there was an awful lot of people in the stations. My boyfriend is great at calming me down, but at that moment I just wanted to get out of there. The bus to Enfield was just as busy, it was hot and smelly. Once back in my safe space I was able to calm down and relax.

I have been the happiest I have been in a long time, but I am no where near being anxiety free, as much as I wish I was. Sometimes I feel that people think I’m just putting it on do attention. But as most people who know me know, attention is the last thing I want when having an anxiety attack. I just want to get a stage where I am confident enough to be in crowded places, not get worked up over observations and be able to go out and socialise.

When it comes to dealing with it, reading, drawing and being creative helps. However, the biggest comfort comes in the form of my family – mum, auntie sue, uncle Dave, Tom, Kat, the kids and Basim. The adults let me vent, cry, shout, ask for advice and my two squishes just want to play and draw which is sometimes all the therapy I need.

Stress and anxiety affects us all in different ways. Mine comes in the form of stabbing pains in the tummy. For others it might be head aches, chest pain or tingling fingers. We’re not crazy or attention seeking, it is our bodies acting completely naturally to situations we feel uncomfortable in. – fight or flight mode. It’s how we chose to handle the situation the determines how we then react to the feeling. Do we run from it and panic or do we stay and fight and say ‘I will not let you scare me’. For me I feel it’s time to stop running and time to fight anxiety and take back my life properly, so I can enjoy teaching my wonderful class, have fun adventures with Basim and stop letting things scare me, instead embrace them and say ‘screw you, I’m Emily Clark! I’m amazing! I’m ready to take on the world!’

Are you ready to fight back?

I’m sure going to have fun on my adventure.

Welcome to my world

I’m new to blogging and not a clue where to start. I think it comes from my crazy urge to write a children’s book. I love books and always will. My safe place is a book store or a library – a passion I thankful share with my mum and boyfriend.

When I say I love books I have found that growing up books (any text of writing for that matter) didn’t exactly love me. The words would swirl all over the page and I’d read words that weren’t there. It would make sense to me but I would hear mum or teachers saying ‘read the words that are there’. Little did we know at the time, that my poor brain couldn’t help it.

I would dread the thought of being picked to read out loud in class for 3 reasons:

1. I was the shy child who didn’t speak to many people.

2. I got mixed up over words and would get sarky comments from the ‘loud outspoken kids’.

3. I felt stupid when I got it wrong.

All I wanted to do was read quietly in peace in my own world not share it to everyone else.

This was something I struggled with throughout primary and secondary school.

Year 5 came around and I found performing arts. Something mum and my dear grandma thought would be good for my confidence. Every week off I went to ‘H club’ where we would sing and act. I still struggles with reading the scripts but found that putting actions to words made it a lot easier for me, especially when it came to learning the lines. Drama was my favourite subject all the way through school, I found it an escape from everything else going on, just like when I read my books. I could hide away from bullies pretend to be someone other than me. School was not my favourite place – I think that’s one of the reasons I wanted to be a teacher. I want children to learn and grow and have a better experience than I did.

Something that has stuck with me since I was 17 and has spurred me on to do better, was something my head of 6th form said to me just before I left to start my performing arts Btec. I had told him I had an interest in becoming a drama therapist. To which he responded ‘how can you help others when you won’t help yourself. You won’t amount to anything’. Let’s just say I showed him. 2 degrees later I am doing my dream job of teaching.

Doubtful teachers wasn’t my problem though. I was still struggling with my reading, spelling was rubbish (still is), time keeping awful and never organised. Heading to uni in Lincoln I decided to take action and find out why I was struggling so much. I met my uni saviour in the form of Shan the dyslexia support worker. She did some tests with me which confirmed our thoughts that I was most likely to have dyslexia and had been keeping my struggles under the radar all through school. Off the the Ed psychologist I went and at the age of 20 it was confirmed that I had dyslexia. It took me a while to get my head around (and mums as well). I got through uni despite all the tears and tantrums. ‘I want to quit and come home’ was a phrase my poor mum heard down the phone on many occasions (at least once a term). My favourite part was writing my dissertation, even though most people would hate it. I focused on how drama can help people with dyslexia to learn.

I was finding even after uni that there was such a stigma attached to people with dyslexia in the why there is if you are suffering with a mental illness. The phrase ‘it’s just an excuse for lazy people’ was often heard. It made me ashamed to admit I was dyslexic.

But I no longer feel ashamed or afraid to speak out in front of people. – it’s my job after all. But I’m also not afraid to get it wrong. I will quite often get confused over a spelling if the children ask me and I’m not sure – thank goodness for computers and my fantastic TA. The children laugh with me about it and I am able to show them that it’s ok to get things wrong and get muddled it’s how we learn. They often ask what I mean by dyslexia. I simply tell them, my brain works a little differently to other people, I struggle with spelling and reading, but every day I practise and I learn from my mistakes. What I don’t tell them is the amount of times I was called stupid, thick or lazy. Or that I felt let down by my teachers at school. I don’t want them to see dyslexia as a negative but that I see it as a positive as I see the world in a different way.

For them I want them to find an enjoyment and escapism in reading just the way I do, disappearing off into a far off land. I would love for the children I teach to want to write exciting stories with crazy narratives, not just do the writing because we told them too.

If you are still reading 😂 I am going to be blogging about exciting school life and also writing some short children’s stories that one day I hope to publish.

Enjoy

Em

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

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