This clip came across my social media this morning-a daughter facing her fear of something new, and a dad being patient, encouraging and maybe a little bit scared himself!

Of course the skateboard dad is Tony Hawk – but the fear is all of us!

The 25 seconds where she hovers there, hesitating, thinking and psyching herself up makes me hold my own breath! His patience is outstanding, and the eventual moment where she goes for it is everything.

I think about how many times this has been me – standing in front of a class and holding my breath – waiting for them to push off not knowing if they are going to back away from the challenge, if they’re going to go for it and crash, or feel the rush of success.

As a teacher this is the part we talk about least. We talk about the marking, the setting of tests, the big successes, the chair-throwers. But these moments of held breaths, the gentle encouragement, the patient wait, the unknown ending. These little cliff hangers are what make a day.

We talk about the marking, the setting of tests, the big successes, the chair-throwers. But these moments of held breaths, the gentle encouragement, the patient wait, the unknown ending. These little cliff hangers are what make a day.

As a student, there is the moment you are perched ready. Everything is in the balance. There isn’t really any going back, everyone is watching, you have to answer the question, sing the song, hear the grade, catch the ball. It has every chance of going pear shaped. A scraped knee and a bruised ego are definitely on the cards.

This is moment when you see a student’s eyes flicker, look about for any life line.

Then there is the moment you see the extra intake of breath, the chest goes out, the chin goes up, and you know they’re going to take the risk!

Hopefully at this point we can be the Tony Hawkes our students need. A guiding hand, a trusted mentor, patient and still just a bit terrified on their behalf!

Afterall, isn’t that what the best teachers do? They don’t remove the challenges, they don’t take away the fear, they just encourage the push off, and celebrate the wins off camera.

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