As a maths teacher I face new challenges every day but my biggest challenge recently involved my other job.
As well as being a maths teacher I am the Principal Teacher of Achievement. This is a promoted post that I have been in since September 2014. The post involves recognising and celebrating achievement in the school.
I was asked to lead an improvement team to develop a new merit award system. The moment that challenged me – when the Head Teacher informed me that I had to speak at assemblies to launch the new system.
This might not sound challenging but I have managed to avoid speaking at assemblies for the past 10 years as I have a massive fear of public speaking. My voice gets quicker and quicker and higher and higher. I turn a lovely shade of red and start to shake. The thought of standing up in front of hundreds of pupils makes me panic. My first reaction is I CAN’T DO IT and HOW CAN I GET OUT OF THIS?
So, how did I handle this? At the time I was completing a course on Coaching so I used some of the techniques I was learning about. Thinking about my Goal (to speak confidently at assembly), Reality (I have to do it), Obstacles (my own self confidence) and the Way Forward (be very prepared, practice in front of a few colleagues first) really helped to put things in perspective.
The assembly went relatively well – I wasn’t speaking loudly enough and I did rush through it a bit – but I did it.
Since then I have had to take 13 assemblies and speak to the whole staff about the merit awards. I still get incredibly nervous before hand and wish someone else would do it BUT I don’t panic in the same way and when speaking to pupils in assemblies I feel more relaxed and confident.
What I have learned – to approach challenges with determination not fear and that I am far more capable than I think I am.