As we head into the last few weeks of Term 1, school life will be pretty crazy. That craziness often contributes to a build-up in the pressure we put on ourselves. I feel that build-up too, but I’ve grown to embrace a good amount of pressure over the years. The perception of pressure can often have a bad connotation, but I like to take the opposite view. I generally like pressure…at least the right amount of it. I find that I perform better, I’m often more effective, more productive and it helps me feel like I have purpose.
I was chatting with a mentor recently about this feeling, and he shared a quote with me from Caroline Buchanan, an Australian BMX and Mountain Bike champion. Buchanan said, “I like pressure. Diamonds are made under pressure, and I definitely enjoy it”.
This got me thinking about the diamond part. I often see teachers being a lot like diamonds. In pressure situations, I’ve seen the best emerge in our teachers. I’ve seen plenty of teachers shine when the people around them have needed it the most. Whether you like it or not, dealing with pressure is a prerequisite for anyone who works in a school. At times, it can be helpful, but at other times, it is a weapon of self-destruction.
So, with the countdown on before the end of term, it’s crucial to understand where your pressure valve is at. It’s worthwhile to think about what’s important in your life and your work, and take time to reflect on what energizes and inspires you. It may also be worth choosing to shift your mindset and be the diamond amongst your team. When I’m under pressure, I’ll always remind myself that I’ve got a choice with how I respond. Certain doors may be closed, but others will be open….sometimes, I just need to force them. If things go wrong, don’t beat yourself up. Treat yourself with the kindness and empathy you deserve, just the way a good friend would.
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