Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Teaching, still a great career?

Teacher: a person who teaches, especially in a school.
"a history teacher"

This post was prompted by a recent blog , 'Would you recommend teaching?' ( find it here ) courtesy of @secretteacher6.

With 23 years of teaching , I feel reasonably qualified to express my views.

Yes, I would heartily recommend teaching as a career if you are:-

1) Passionate about your subject/specialism
2) Genuinely like young people/children and have patience and humour by the bucket load
3) Self motivated and very well organised
4) Thick skinned enough to cope with difficult patents/managers/colleagues/students but human enough to care
5) A risk taker and prepared to learn alongside the children
6) Adaptable and flexible

I could go on with this list almost indefinitely-I love those T shirts that you can buy which "sum up" what being a teacher entails e.g...


 Perhaps being a teacher is most like being a parent in so far as it is a highly complex, multi faceted, not a  one-fits-all but an ever changing role.

But, to address the question, is teaching still a great career?

Yes, in my opinion.

Hear me out- OK, there is a lot going on at the moment that isn't great and there have been blog posts a-plenty about those.

BUT, I honestly think that it is a privilege to work with children, the job IS ever changing but that is part of the appeal. No getting bored on the job allowed! (or possible)  I was on a course the other day and when asked how long I had been in my present post was asked, "Isn't it time to move on now?"  Um, well no. Not for the time being at least. It is the fact that the job does change so often that makes it fresh and exciting. (Yes, really) I couldn't imagine how dull it would be to drag the same old lessons out year after year. It's great if some themes/topics stay the same as I rally get to know all about them, but when things change it gives an opportunity to learn alongside the children and to model how to find things out.

To me that is one of the great aspects of the job. Seeing children progress, being there when they grasp a new concept, hearing them at play time, hearing about them when they have moved on to secondary school and beyond. Making a difference, no matter how small that might be, makes teaching what it is.

Recently someone spent a few weeks in our school , uncertain of what career path to take. Being in school, talking to the children and teachers, made that decision easy. He has just been accepted for teacher training. Fab :)

I am not deluded, not wearing rose tinted spectacles, not bonkers. But I AM passionate about being a teacher. Helping shape the children of today into the next generation. It is tragic that so many teachers leave in the early stages of their careers (see here )

Does the job get easier with experience? Not easier, you have a larger bank of resources, are less fazed by change, have a bit more patience, but no, it doesn't get easier. And I can't see myself being effective at 67 to be honest, or that the children will feel they can relate to teachers of that age (ha, I feel that now sometimes!)
I have had enough of the constant negative media . Social media all too often degenerates into negativity. I can moan as well as the next person and if I could wave a magic wand there are plenty of things that I would change (see previous post here ) but life is too short .

Warts and all, teaching is my career of choice, I am still excited, challenged, daunted,thrilled, scared,optimistic... by it. I look forward to the next ITT student that I work with and hope that I will be able to prepare them for a career that is incredibly rewarding. Hard work. Oh yes, more than words can ever get close to saying, but worth it.  Yes.