Teachers have it all. They only work from 9-3, get all those holiday breaks and play with kids all day, right? Wrong. So, so wrong. It amazes me how many people seem to believe this blatant untruth.
Mark Twain said it best in his quote ‘teaching is like trying to hold 35 corks underwater at once.’ A teacher’s work doesn’t begin when the bell rings and certainly doesn’t end when the holidays start. Teachers learn to become experts at timing their toilet breaks and inhaling their lunch. They spend their free time planning engaging activities, scouring the internet to find useful resources, differentiating for each ability level, creating and marking assessments, setting homework, keeping up with countless emails and paperwork, meeting with parents and making displays. Not to mention running clubs at lunch time or after school, chasing students who missed assessments, attending meetings and writing reports … and that’s barely scratching the surface.
Teaching is an innate desire. It isn’t just a job and you definitely don’t become a teacher for the money. Teaching is a calling and it demands commitment and dedication. A teacher has the opportunity to impact on students’ lives in a positive way which is a huge privilege that shouldn’t be taken lightly. There is learning, healing, laughter, magic and love in classrooms all over the world. As a teacher, I aim to create an atmosphere that encourages curiosity and sheer determination. My classroom is a place where students feel important, respected, valued, cared for and believed in.
I have always liked the idea of becoming a teacher. I was the little girl who read stories to her teddies and I even wrote tests for my poor little brother to complete. I don’t think I chose teaching, I think it chose me.
I attended ACU in Strathfield, Sydney. On the whole, I really enjoyed uni and really liked my classes, however no matter what university you attend, all teachers seem to agree that teaching degrees don’t actually teach you very much about teaching in the real world. As soon as you step into a classroom, you begin to realise how much you don’t know. This is why prac experiences are the most valuable part of of a teaching degree. This is where you will sink or swim and realise if this is the right place for you. Prac experiences should be taken very seriously. Learn everything you can from your supervising teachers and don’t be afraid to ask all of the questions you have. Take notes, reflect on your lessons and set goals for yourself to achieve in your next lesson. Good teachers never stop doing this. In fact, most teachers are perfectionists and are too hard on themselves. Don’t beat yourself up, you will make many mistakes and that’s okay. However, it isn’t okay to stop learning or to stop growing as a teacher if this is what you have decided to do.
I’ll never forget what one of my prac supervisors wisely told me, “the day you think you know it all as a teacher, is the day you should retire.”
In my first two years I taught Year 5 and this is my second year teaching Year 2. Every class you teach will be completely unique, filled with challenges, interesting, troubled, happy and remarkable children. If teaching is meant for you, I can guarantee that you will never have a dull day. There is nothing like a child finally getting a concept – that light bulb moment is what it is all about and often brings tears to my eyes. While teaching can be incredibly stressful and draining at times, it is also incredibly rewarding. I can always count on the children to make me smile and I can only hope that I have as big of an impact on them as they have on me.