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Being a good a educator is knowing who you are and understanding yourself. This very much applies to the staff who have supporting roles within schools too, and metaphors are a useful tool in helping you do this.

Metaphors are comparisons between two unrelated concepts, in which one thing is said to be another. For example, “food for thought”, “the world’s your oyster”, or “they’re the apple of my eye”. This isn’t to be confused with similes which uses like or as for comparison. For example, “you slept like a baby”, “as quick as a flash” or “blind as a bat”. Metaphors are useful in making the complex simple, and indeed in terms of teaching, enable teachers to describe the complex task of teaching so others can understand it.

Using images can help you find a metaphor that can describe you as a member of the staff group. For example, take a look at this image:

A photo of a gardener sowing seeds into soil

© Pixabay

This gardening metaphor is often a popular choice to describe an educator. As a gardener you can be seen to cultivate the ground, laying the foundations ready for young learners to grow. You create a healthy environment where they can happily grow and just like young plants, you would nurture the children and regularly water, feed and check for optimal conditions to ensure they continue to thrive. You would recognise that some plants will have different requirements and would tend to this to ensure growth. All of this done with time, care and patience.

Now it’s your turn. Take a few moments to look at the following images:

Image 1

A photo of a bird feeding their chicks

© Pixabay license

Image 2

A photo of a music conductor

© Pixabay license

Image 3

An image of a boat with a light on in the middle of a stormy sea

© Pixabay license

Image 4

A photo of a person climbing a mountain at night time with stars in the sky

© Pixabay license

What do each of these images mean to you as a member of the learning support staff in your school? Share your thoughts about each one with your fellow learners in the comments area below.

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Supporting Successful Learning in Primary School

University of Reading

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