Making Our Private Lives Public

Jack GulstonJack writes for the Teacher Toolkit site from a primary perspective and is in his third year of teaching. He worked as a teaching assistant in a special needs school for 3 years before going on to complete his education degree. He is currently teaching… Read more about Jack GulstonShould we share our private lives with pupils?As I approach the last 4 weeks of my third teaching year, it dawned on me that my class know a lot about my life.This is the second time I have taught this group and they were my first ever class. 23 out of the 30 are the same, but the majority know that I have a partner, that I used to work as a teaching assistant at a special needs school and they also know that my parents are divorced, I have a half brother and I have only ever met my real dad once.Now, you are probably reading this thinking, why on earth am I talking to the children in my class about this?! What a waste of learning time! But I think that having children understand your journey helps them understand that life isn’t perfect and as a teacher, we have difficulties in our lives as well.Sharing Is CaringI will give you a bit of context. I work in one of the worst performing local authorities in the country. The primary school I work in has a high mobility rate, a higher proportion of Free School Meals than any other school in our area and over 40% SEN. Most children in the school come from broken families and have little to no aspirations.This is why I feel that sharing things with the children about my life will hopefully inspire them and show that anything really is possible if they put their mind to it.If I share part of my life with them and it inspires at least one child, I would be over the moon.I am not saying that I had the worst upbringing in the world, I didn’t. I was very lucky in many aspects of my life, but I really think that for children to achieve, you need to be able to connect with them on an emotional level. A good friend of mine always tells me it’s about attachment. She may have a point.Share And TearNow, I am not talking about going into class in the morning after having a blazing row with your partner and offloading to the children, it has to be at the right time. I usually find during P4C sessions, PHSE sessions or even RE lessons. I don’t tell the children to ask me questions, the dialogue with the children takes a natural course and then eventually the children begin to ask me questions about my life that they are intrigued about.I think with the children having an understanding of my life, they understand what obstacles I have had to overcome, so that can inspire them to overcome any obstacles they might face. I can see why not everyone will love this idea, but I have found that it works for me and the area and school I work in.What do you share?If you do anything like this, it would be great to hear what you share with your class. My good friend who talks about attachment, regularly talks about her children and how they are and what they do and how she went through university whilst pregnant. Se doesn’t do it now, since she now teaches nursery, but it was a regular topic in her year 2 class.I genuinely believe that having these open conversations with the children in your class can only benefit them in the long run. Make them believe in you, so they can believe in themselves.Related

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