It’s getting to the end of yet another year, and my first year as a qualified teacher, although one way or another I have been in this game for almost 7 years now. When I joined the profession, it was there as a ‘time filler’ whilst I was searching for a job in an ever depleting employment market. However, it didn’t take me long to realise that this was for me, that every day I would wake up feeling enthusiastic about the day ahead, loving the fact that I had an opportunity to engage a child in another step along their scholastic life, I still feel like this today.My, soon to be, deputy wife has been teaching for 16 years, eleven of which we have spent together and, even when faced with a troubled year group of social outcasts, ne’er-do-wells and those who’s only stability lies in school (I won’t even mention the parents!), she still feels the desire and excitement to (almost) skip in to school.
Here comes the question…
So why do we do it? When faced with increasing pressures from senior management, delayed exemplification materials from those whom are responsible for defining what we teach and the ever-increasing of social, emotional and economical issues that face our schools, why do we still love the lives we lead?
It’s simple, there are 52 sat on a coach to London with me now for a day trip that will last 18 hours, depending on traffic. They will return to school to perform at a local Christian celebration the following afternoon and still deliver a decent piece of writing at the end of the week. It’s the same children who will, undoubtedly, bring me to tears at their leavers production in 6 weeks time!
Of course this is a romantic view, don’t get me wrong, my head of year is forever telling me to calm down when I sulk over having to use purple pens to mark learning or when I’ve spent an entire evening planning a lesson that gets pushed back to “another day” because of a corridor conversation. But the truth of the matter is, the 30 children in my care, the hundreds I have had the pleasure to work with and the thousands that pass through my mark book during my career is why I do this job. It’s why I get up every morning and it’s why I don’t whine at the end of the school holidays!
Working in Year 6 this year has been a challenging year and also a great year to complete my NQT year. We have taught a curriculum that is new to children and staff alike, we are trying, ourselves, to define the difference between determiners and pronouns and how these differ from an article and we have been preparing writing based on a best guess until government materials, that appear to be wholly contrived, move the goal posts and challenge even our most adept writers. Every teacher works incredibly hard but I do feel that this year has been quite exceptional for my fellow Year 6 colleagues around the country.
However, if you still spend nearly every waking moment thinking about your class and wake up with that positive feeling “what will they achieve today?” then you are joined by the majority of amazing teachers that keep smiling through the educational storms and will continue to make the difference that you vowed to do when you started in the job.
If you do not feel like this, if you have already given up for the year or if you are desperate for the next holiday season, maybe a refocus is required – ask yourself “Why do we do this?”