Surrender or getting angry: choose the best solution. This is a story to help come to terms with not getting in your own way and let go of anger.
I still occasionally teach in primary schools and I was on a supply day’s recently. I run my own business too and I have two children, I sometimes wonder why I’m tired!
Anyhow, I was in the classroom with year one, they are 5 to 6 years old, and I’d been with them over an hour and break was coming up. I got them ready for break and as they were lining up, I was sent a message that it was wet play, which meant they had to stay in the classroom.
This was my second day in this school and I was quite tired, it was
Friday, the end of the week. And I just had one moment of complete
anger, thinking ‘what am I supposed to do now?’ And I did call to another
teacher, I could see one bringing students back from the playground. I asked
‘What am I supposed to do? What’s happening to break?’
I had two choices there, the first one was to make my own life a misery,
and I was getting quite tense with the kids, because I needed a break.
Then I thought, ‘Well, actually if I had a break that would be great, but
I haven’t got a break, so I may as well be easy on myself and enjoy being
with the students.
They all took their coats off, I told them they could play, they took
some toys out and started playing and I sat there and started playing
with them too. Making faces, laughing, talking to them. And you
know what? Once I had decided there was nothing I could do and I needed
just to surrender, just to calm myself and just go with the flow I relaxed and
I wasn’t half as tired, I didn’t need my drink now. I would have been
pleased to have a drink then because you get thirsty when you teach, but I
By the time break was over I was ready to start again, then suddenly
someone turned up and said ‘I’m here to relieve you so you can have a
break.’ I thanked her, gave her some work for the children and left for
10 minutes. But what was amazing was that if I’d been annoyed with the
kids, carried on wanting my break, pushing and getting annoyed, I would
possibly have shouted at the children, made myself feel bad, upset the
children, and it wasn’t their fault, and by the time someone had turned up I
would have been really, really wound up. But I chose the easiest
solution. Just to surrender. To think ‘Ok, let’s all have a break
together, let’s make the most of it. Just enjoy being together’.
The kids were having a good time, they weren’t misbehaving, they were
lovely and I even gave them a few more minutes play. So they were
happy. And I think that’s quite important when you want to think about
expressing yourself. If you find the wrong time to say what you feel, I could
have been really angry, and get really annoyed with the kids and the
school. But because I decided not to and I decided I was going to
relax my whole body started to relax. I didn’t feel as tired and although
obviously I needed a break, it was less urgent. And it is something
that’s quite important when you start speaking or when you’re in front of other
people and you have to speak.
Often, it’s better not to worry and just take one thing at a
time. Hold the faith, think that it’s going to be OK. It’s
going to be alright. And realise that if you push too much you are going to
make everything miserable, you and the others around you. Also,
what do other people need? The children needed a break, but it didn’t
really matter where it was. They wanted to play and that is what we
did. Because they were allowed to play and because I relaxed, they
I think this is a really quite important lesson to learn. To just
relax and surrender. To just think ‘OK, I can’t have it all my way, and
does it really matter? As long as we, as a group we are making
progress.’ That’s what counts.
So, I just want you to think today about the analogy between that
situation in the classroom and times when you might have talked to your team,
you want them to do this and that, you just barked orders at them instead
of trying to see what else they need. “Are they ready to listen to me? Is it
the right time for them? How can I engage them? How can I treat
them so that they respond? Can I really control the whole thing? Shall I forget
to try to get my own way?
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