Or, things teachers never talk about.
In my life BT (Before Teaching) I was a mild mannered human with almost no inclination towards swearing. Ok, so I enjoyed the odd curse word as part of a story or to relieve pain but on the whole, I was pretty much suitable for all the family. Mostly.
I also secreted what could easily be described as a perfectly normal amount of sweat in any given day. This all changed the day I took my first class. It was a Year 7 History lesson and I had no idea what I was doing. My lesson plan turned to early onset paper-mache in my hands as I attempted to do something other than ‘wait for silence’.
The internal struggle for ‘fight or flight’ in the face of the perceived enemy was winning the battle against the weaker, and infinitely newer, instinct of wanting to appear as though everything was going according to plan.
My glands appeared to believe I had been transported to a sauna and went to great lengths to demonstrate their proficiency in a ridiculously short period of time.
Within the first 15 minutes of the lesson, I was no longer able to raise my arms (the preferred method of getting children to stop and listen) and had to resort to ‘the dinosaur’ stance while continuing to wait for silence. I broke the school record for this on that same day: 35 minutes.
Here’s the thing though. No one ever talks about it. The Teacher Sweats. Google it, I’m the only one and yet it is an almost universally acknowledged physical manifestation of teaching. Namely, excessive perspiration in response to excessive stress.
My ordeal on that day was brought to a close in the usual fashion for a trainee teacher. Bell goes, children leave without waiting to be dismissed and the supervising class teacher directs you to the safety of the staff room.
You remember the advert right? ‘Use your head, teach’.
Shame the small print didn’t mention the role of my armpits in that scenario or I would have bought shares in antiperspirant.