During 2012, I was lucky enough to be deployed away from home (again) providing a small but important part of the security for the Olympic Games in London. Four years on I find myself in a completely different situation, in a classroom, in front of 30 children every day.
To paraphrase the great Chris Boardman, my journey has been all about the aggregation of marginal gains. This has led me to interesting places, helped me in deep pedagogical discussions with colleagues in school and across the country via social media. It has also made me into a far better teacher.
My aim now is to always be better next week than I was this. If I can take one little tip from someone in a week and embed it into my teaching then I will become a good teacher. I know this cannot happen overnight – it is not possible to simply open my head up and pour in the brain of an outstanding teacher but, at the grand old age of 44, I think I have become more and more reflective.
So my teaching career has to be about the small wins. It might not be something I am doing in my classroom, it may be about how I have helped a colleague try something in theirs. It may be about how I can take something from another school and implement it in mine, it might just be integrating an idea from an behaviour specialist about building a trusting relationship with a child in my class.
Above all, we should never stop trying to make the marginal gains. The profession is in a state of flux at the moment, seemingly willing itself to destruction. We must remember that the children we teach are not political pawns and that education is not some kind of social experiment. We owe it to these children to make the gains and to make their time at school worthwhile. We owe it to ourselves to be the best, most professional, most reflective and most willing to improve teachers we can be. We owe it to the children to keep our political leanings out of the classroom. to shield them from whatever pressures our SLT are mounting on us and to make school a place where they feel safe instead of feeling like statistics.