“You wouldn’t believe what’s going on with that student…I’ve no idea what to do.”
Heard yourself uttering something like this quite often to your colleagues? What is the response?
Imagine this. A colleague immediately stops what they’re doing, turns round to face you, looks you in the eye with a concentrated gaze and says, “I’m here to help, tell me all about it”.
When did that last happen? Has it ever happened?
Of course, your colleagues aren’t being deliberately unhelpful. At least one hopes that is the case! The conflicting pressures on all of us make it difficult for us to drop our current activity to support a colleague.
Providing outstanding support comes with the bi-products of students opening up to you more, relying on you for emotional support, wanting even more support and thus exposing you to challenging, emotionally draining and potentially upsetting issues. Combined with the whirlwind life of the trainee teacher, the question of how to cope before it all becomes overwhelming needs to be explored.
Long established in psychotherapy and counselling for example, supervision is less so in education. Most definitions imply that supervision relies on a structure and certain rules. There can be some differences within this, so maybe it is more useful to think of a framework of guidelines within which supervision sessions should be carried out.
A framework for supervision sessions[table “1” not found /]
The support side of the teacher role can feel like you’re more of a social worker than teacher. Given the demands on you in the face of serious and challenging issues with students who you want to support as best you can, if supervision sessions were built into your working routine, how helpful would it be?