The last first time.

I recently started a doctoral degree in Education. I’ve wanted to do a PhD for a long time, and work and other commitments have always got in the way. So I think it’s important for the context of this post that I say I’m thrilled to be starting this new opportunity. I’m excited about the topic I want to research. I’m excited about the challenge.In my first real post for this blog I spoke about reading being like swimming, how in the beginning it looks easy and fun but, after an initial drop in confidence, fear can take over. Recently, I’ve been thinking about how, as teachers, we often forget what it was like to stand on the shore and desperately want to dive in.

The thought came to me because I’m feeling a similar sensation now. I’m so excited to begin my research. I can see myself in 4 years negotiating the surf and gliding through the water. But now, standing at the edge of a pile of reading, my toes are cold. The water splashes my face accidentally when I step in.

I’m a little bit scared.

Which makes me think of my students, and the first time I give them a piece of work at the top band of their level or at a level above that challenges them and scares them. I see myself standing by them and encouraging them to just jump in – that it will be alright and, that if it isn’t, I’ll see them to safety.

But I wonder if I’ve stopped remembering just how scared they are. Which makes me thankful for suddenly feeling a little out of my own depth. It reminds me that writing scaffolds, starting sentences, mind maps, seem like such small devices – so small that it’s hard to remember that a student might be clinging to them.

For some students, these things are life lines. Let’s keep making sure we throw them.

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