Tuesday, 29 May 2012

To My Husband, On The Morning Of His Students' Exam

Dear Paul,

I've just said goodbye to you at reception. As I walked through the common room the music playing over the loudspeakers was Johnny Cash's version of "Personal Jesus". An interesting choice for this morning!

I know you are racked with nerves over the exam. This has been your first year teaching - ever - and to go straight in with an exam class, unaided, has been a baptism of fire. You are scared that you haven't prepared the students well enough, that they will not achieve what they are capable of, or that they will freak out in the exam hall.

You have done all that you can to help them prepare for this exam.

So what can you do for them now? Pretend that you aren't as nervous as they are. Smile when you see them, look relaxed, even if your stomach is in knots. Students react to their teachers' moods more than we sometimes realise.

It's never going to get better. You will never have an exam where you don't feel like this. You will always feel protective of your students, and responsible for their welfare and achievement, even if you cannot influence either entirely.

It will become easier to fake confidence with them. You will find smiling, telling them not to panic, giving them reassurance, comes more naturally over time. After a while, they won't even twig that you're nervous too.

But the nerves will never leave you. And you wouldn't want them to.

All my love,
Julia xxxxx

1 comment:

  1. I don't think my students expected to see me blubbing outside the toilets when I was on toilet break escort duty during the exam. But this was lovely and brought tears to my eyes.

    Thank you xxxxx


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