The 1,000 Hour Chat For Teachers

There comes a point in most people’s professional life when you reach a certain level of competence and you feel in control.

Gradually over time you start to shed the anxieties and worries that seemed to be a daily occurrence and you feel your confidence rising. You may hit a sweet spot and feel all is well with the world.

This is the time when you are the most vulnerable too.

Teachers that have clocked up the flying hours don’t just lose their butterflies though, they are still there but we learn to control them better.

But confidence is a dangerous thing because you can start to feel like you know more than you do. Some get carried away and show-off their skills; assemblies are a good marker for that.

The thing is, confidence also breeds stupidity.

It’s something Tim Peake talks about in his autobiography Limitless.

He recounts a time when he decided to show-off his helicopter skills in Kenya and describes it as “the worst thing I’ve ever done in a helicopter and the thing I am most ashamed of. I got cocky.”

This happens. We can all get carried away with ourselves and get cocky. Tim’s experience was a life and death situation in that things could have easily gone wrong with catastrophic results.

Luckily for him, it didn’t and he had an experienced colleague to tell him his flypast was ill-judged. It was his slap in the face, his wake-up call, his reminder.

Teachers seldom face anything like this but that’s not to say some of the consequences of being cocky wouldn’t be serious – they can lose you your good reputation and possibly your job. It’s just not worth it.

This is where teachers, lawyers, pilots, supermarket managers, checkout operators or whoever need to have what Tim calls the 1,000 hour chat. This is where someone gives you a good talking to or if no one does it, you talk to yourself.

We all need a reminder not to get to ahead of ourselves and not to blow things. Showing off to junior colleagues or teachers in training can be a common thing in teaching but it can also backfire and if it does, you are never seen in the same way again.

So, cocky, reckless and selfish teachers aren’t the sort the profession needs because they are risking it and also risking the reputation of the school. No on likes a show-off.

The 1,000 hour chat is something every experienced teacher needs so that they stay grounded. There is a big difference between experience and expertise.

And now for a Star Wars moment:

“Got ‘im! I got ‘im!”

Han Solo:
“Great, kid. Don’t get cocky.”

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