Distractions are everywhere.

The ability to focus your mind against them is essential to success.

Especially when your classroom assistant has their foot stuck inside a rubbish bin – in the middle of a lesson!

I worked with a lunatic!

A trainee primary school teacher at the time, I was still grappling with lesson planning, learning how to gain that all-important “teacher presence” to control 30 young children, and developing effective deployment of a teaching assistant.

There was plenty of mental and physical distractions – not least, working with a lunatic. What I needed was focus, no matter what.

Here’s an example.

In the middle of a lesson, right at the point where the children were listening to the next stage of teaching input to move their learning forward, I saw out the corner of my eye the teaching assistant put her foot into a smallish rubbish bin to ‘stamp down” the paper. It was not the best timing. It was not the best decision. Her foot got stuck.

For a minute, she tried to quietly get her foot back out the bin without the children noticing. It didn’t work. There she was in the middle of a lesson with her foot stuck in the bin.

I continued teaching. The situation was not ideal. It was not what the University covered in teacher training.

Clunk. Clunk. Clunk.

Unable to release her foot – and not wishing to “disturb” the lesson – my teaching assistant started to make her way towards the cupboard.

Clunk. Clunk. Clunk.

Some children noticed. Quickly I used my strategies for keeping control of my class – I had to stay focused.

Clunk. Clunk. Clunk.

The teaching assistant made it to the cupboard and therein, various shuffling and grunting sounds emerged as her foot was freed from the bin.

I’d love to say this was a rare occurrence, but I worked with a lunatic.

This was the same teaching assistant that walked to the shop with a perfect Christmas-tree-shaped-hole in her skirt after cutting out Christmas cards with the children on the carpet.

Working with a lunatic provided endless entertainment and fun – but I am most grateful for the lessons I learnt on focus.

Distractions are everywhere.

But the ability to keep your mind completely focused on the goal you want to achieve is essential for success.

If you would like to learn more about how coaching can help you focus on achieving your goal, follow the Mapleleaf Vision blog and you too may be inspired to #LiveDaringDreams

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