Monday, February 29, 2016

Stress Level spikes - working with Young People.

I grabbed this from The Sunday Observer 
A Teacher and his SPIKES - stress level
during a working day.

I just like to observe behaviour and someone working with Young People.

The Teacher 
Joseph Bispham, 30, teaches English and is head of media studies at Forest Gate community school in London. 

He lives in East London with his girlfriend. 

I wake up a lot in the night, often from dreams about the kids at school. 
That explains the big spike in my heart rate around 2am. 
But when my alarm goes off at 6.30am, I'm up and out the door in half an hour, with a Thermos of fresh coffee. 
The longer I linger at home, the less time I have to plan my lessons. 
There's nothing worse than the sea effaces that look up at you when you haven’t got a lesson ready, 
so I'm not surprised by my consistently high heart rate, 
which dips briefly when I stop for breakfast at the canteen. 

At 8.45am I teach year ll literature. 
The text is JB Priestley's An Inspector Calls, which they love, 
because they get to use a lot of sophisticated political and sociological vocabulary. 
It is brilliant when they've got a really interesting and relevant text. 
Kids want to be clever - they're not afraid of hard work, they're just afraid of feeling stupid. 

They get a bit lively towards the end of the class so I raise my voice a lot. 
One piece of feedback I always get is that I'm too loud and boomy. 
But my voice is the easiest way to get their attention. 

Between classes, I snatch half an hour to do some marking, which I hate with a passion. 
It's like stabbing yourself with your mistakes, 
because if they've done something wrong, if s usually because you've taught it badly. 
You are held accountable for the outcome of your children but 
you're not the factor that decides your own success, 
which takes a lot of control away from you. 
Teachers are often portrayed as moaners, 
but people don't understand our level of frustration and fear for the children; 
as a result, it's very hard to switch off. 

Over a canteen lunch at my desk I'm prepping for a meeting in the afternoon about the school's 
long-term plans when I'm interrupted by a GCSE pupil. 
My low heart rate suddenly peaks. 
She has very high predicted grades and works really hard but is underachieving in English. 
It's a supportive but frank conversation. 

At Forest Gate, they're incredibly driven kids. 
They tend to pick their moments, but you can't turn them away because they'd never let you forget it. 
Someone once described teenagers as being like lawyers - they analyse everything you've ever said. 

At l.10pm it's my year ll media stupes class, which is challenging and disorganised at the moment, and my heart rate is rapidly up and down. At one point, 
I say the worst thing I've ever said to a child: 
"At what point in your life did you 
have your common sense surgically removed?” 

I'm looking forward to the long-term planning meeting later in the afternoon, 
where I feel a lot more relaxed. 
With adult company and a bit of camaraderie, it's a sanity check; what it must be like working in a normal office: 
Cycling home (I had left my bike at school) through the Olympic Park punctuates my day nicely 
and sees a healthy spike in my heart rate. 

I'm brutally inefficient in the evening, but I do the necessary marking after dinner, 
before settling down to the last two episodes of Netflix's Making A Murderer. 
My heart rate is on average a lot lower than during my school day, 
but it spikes a couple of times, which I'm not surprised about; I'm rocking like a madman on my sofa.