Turns out writing about teaching is a hell of a lot easier than actually teaching. You sit in front of a keyboard, check Twitter, send an email, check Twitter, think about doing some writing, check Twitter, do some internet shopping, tap, tap, tappity-tap and then it’s lunchtime. In comparison to what I’d be doing in the classroom…well, there is no comparison really. I can go to the toilet when I want to and everything.

There’s a thrum when you’re teaching. An anxious energy that for me hasn’t dissipated even after years of doing it. I still get nervous every time I walk into those whiteboard arenas of the mind and soul. I don’t get that when I’m writing (probably something to do with the lack of projectiles and mum-cussing). For me, writing is a calm process; it’s serene.

Unless I’m writing about behaviour.

If you have a look back over all the posts in this here paradigm-shifting, game-changer of a blog, you might notice the conspicuous absence of that subject. That’s not by accident. This place has always been somewhere where I can hang out – a warm, friendly cosy little nook of the internet where I can transmit whatever gibberish about teaching I care to and some of you are even good enough to read it. I don’t feel warm, friendly or cosy when I write about behaviour.

I feel the thrum.

More than any other subject, I worry. I worry about what happens if someone chooses to listen to me, tries something I suggest and it goes wrong. I worry about leaving people in a worse position than if they’d not cast their eyes over something that I’d written. I worry that it’s bad advice.

(I don’t do this half as much as with other subjects. What’s that? ‘Maybe I should?’ Hush, you.)

The reason I get all twisted when I write about behaviour is because I know how important it is. I know how it feels when it’s amiss. How it can tear you up. How it can ruin chances. How much it hurts.

So when I write about behaviour I am careful. I listen to the thrum in the background. I don’t find it comfortable.

But then I don’t think it ever should be.













  1. Chester Draws

    At least in our staff room, it’s behaviour — in the sense of how the teacher modifies behaviour — that is the one issue that is hardly ever talked about. You might discuss a specific student and how you deal with it, but teachers are notoriously shy about discussing what goes wrong in their classrooms.

    If you didn’t know better, you’d get the impression that some of them never have to deal with behaviour issues.

  2. nancy

    Strangely, I found behaviour the most cathartic part to write about. I have my theories about why this is – and *they* are what I feel diffident in sharing.

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