Today was a fantastic day. The rain was pouring; it didn’t matter.
We were outside in the pouring rain; it didn’t matter.
I got soaking wet; it didn’t matter.
I challenged myself and learnt things; that mattered and, in fact, still matters.
I teach students, who have a range of diagnoses, in a complex needs school. This week is activities week, so we are off timetable. Not following the usual structure causes many problems, but, as educators, we are solution-focused. In the real world, things rarely go to plan, so it’s important to be versatile and able to think on our feet.
Today, we were lucky enough to be taking a small group of students to the Nancy Oldfield Trust. According to them, they offer “excitement, freedom and adventure on the Norfolk Broads, providing accessible motor boats, sailing yachts and rafted canoes, to ensure a safe experience for all visitors”.
When we drove up to the centre, I was fully expecting to be going on a cruiser, covered and protected from the elements. When I spoke to the welcoming staff, I was surprised to learn that we had the chance to go canoeing. My brain instantly sent a message to my stomach and I began to feel anxious. However, looking around at my students, I decided that overcoming my own fear and nervousness about the situation to enable them to have a fulfilling experience was far more important than any butterflies in my stomach. A colleague and I went to inspect the rafted canoes and, in unison, we said, “Let’s do it! We can do it!” And we did…
With a false smile plastered on my face as wide as the Tyne Tunnel, I got into the canoe and got on with it. If my students can give it their all and do so with excitement and pride, so can I. That matters. So, while I didn’t really learn anything concrete, I did face a challenge, a hurdle, one which I overcame.
I do what I do, day in and day out, because seeing my children (yes, I call them my children!) enjoying and achieving things, no matter how big or small, makes it all worthwhile.
So, writing this with my hair still damp, but frizzy, I have a genuine smile on my face.