Meet The Marigolds
Why yes indeed. This blog title does sound like the beginnings of some new E4 sitcom centred around a dysfunctional yet endearing family with the surname Marigolds. Sadly though, this is not the reality of this post…
I’ve been a full time teacher now for two terms. That’s a huge achievement in itself but it is potentially only a fragment of the total time I could be teaching for. Reflecting upon how I’d managed to make it so far, I found it hard to think about things I had done myself to develop and (perhaps more importantly) survive. Instead, I was drawn to thinking about the people who helped me get to this stage. Or should I say, the marigolds.
This is a term that a fellow NQT friend of mine introduced to me. In summary, a marigold is a nurturing individual who helps you grow through positivity and support and aims to protect you from any metaphorical weeds that may come your way. If you’d like a more in-depth explanation a to what marigolds are, check this fantastic post out: https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/marigolds/ Although, I’d like to argue that marigolds are not just for newly qualified teachers. Everyone needs a marigold or two.
So, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to just a handful of my marigolds. (Honestly, I am very greedy and lucky to have a whole allotment of marigolds to inspire and encourage me and pick me up when I’m feeling down.)
The Meet Up Marigold
A couple of weeks ago I met up with a higher-level teaching assistant that I worked with during one of my PGCE placements. I hadn’t caught up with her face to face for several months but seeing her was just as natural and enjoyable as always. We chatted for such a long time that it was clear the café employees were wiping tables to imply that we should leave. This marigold has a bubbly and optimistic nature that would put happiness itself to shame. It’s hard to get through a sentence without the pair of us finding something to giggle about. Although she is a marigold that I only meet up with from time to time, it is an absolute joy to catch up and I love discussing all aspects of teaching and beyond with her. I never fail to leave enthused and inspired about teaching after meeting this particular marigold.
The Mentor Marigold
I am incredibly fortunate to have a fantastic NQT mentor. He is a passionate practitioner who always strives to give the children the best experience he can provide. With his calm approach, caring disposition and conscientious reflections, he truly is the teacher I hope to be myself one day. (Can you tell I have a bit of a man crush?)
He must have a secret stash of patience tucked away in a drawer somewhere that he consumes at the start of each working day in order to deal with my abundance of questions and queries. Regardless of my frequent visits to his classroom, he never fails to make time for me – particularly if I come brandishing a cup of tea in his favourite mug.
Rather sadly, I actually really look forward to him observing my lessons. Whenever he does, I never get the impression that he’s actually there to watch me. In fact, he only seems present in order to participate in the lesson himself. It’s an incredibly encouraging and positive atmosphere. The part I enjoy most of all, however, is the discussion we have following an observed lesson. Talking with a passionate, experienced teacher about my practice is incredibly inspiring. I always leave these sessions both eager to implement a new strategy we have decided upon and proud of an element of my lesson that we both identified as particularly effective. If only every NQT could have a marigold mentor like mine.
For an example of an invaluable feedback session I had with him, check out my Periphery Pupils blog post!
The Mathematical Marigold
Some weekday mornings Upper School is graced by the presence of a mathematics learning support teacher. This particular marigold is my spirit animal. She has a cracking sense of humour, an infectious optimism and a penchant for gin. All qualities that I hold very highly. Our break-time chats are so wonderfully relaxed, enjoyable and often hysterical that I once forgot I had an observed lesson looming straight after break and had to dash off to prep.
This marigold also introduced me to the wonders of futoshiki – which is not as inappropriate as I originally believed it to be! I’ve gained a newfound appreciation for completing these mathematical puzzles thanks to her weekly provision of the puzzle section of The Daily Telegraph. Admittedly, the only part I can complete independently is the Junior Mind Gym intended for children…but there’s still hope for me yet.
Whether we’re discussing all aspects of life with a flask of coffee in the classroom or over a glass of wine at the pub, I’m always guaranteed to gain a valuable perspective from this marigold. She’s very wise. (Although I’ll never give her the satisfaction of telling her this!)
Many More Marigolds
I know, I know. I am very lucky to have three such marvellous marigolds in my life. The best part is: I have even more! It would take a lifetime to discuss them in just this one blog post so I’ll share more of my marigolds over time. You may have noticed I was on a bit of an alliterative hype in regards to the categorising of marigolds in this blog post. This was not the least bit intentional. I don’t think I can keep this up for Meet The Marigolds Part 2 – whenever that may surface.
Anyways. Before I go, I’d like to leave you with some things to think about:
Do you have a marigold or even a handful of marigolds?
If so, what makes them a marigold to you?
If not, what do you look for in a marigold?
It sounds like I’m setting up a dating site for plants…www.plentyofpollen.com? Ooh! Maybe I could also create a new app for plants who are looking to be pollinated. Seedr?
Sometimes I worry for the education of our future generations.