Teaching is an incredible job, yet so many of us are leaving or considering leaving the profession. The following post is a counterargument to my recent post on why teachers are leaving the profession. So here goes…
1 // The future needs responsible citizens
Somebody has to teach young people how to care for others, the planet and themselves. It seems that this has fallen on teachers more and more in the current political climate.
Fewer programmes and schemes are developed for young people outside of school to support their social development and greater emphasis is being placed on schools as the source of such knowledge and developments.
Over the past few years I’ve seen increasing numbers of young people engage in politics. The referendum to leave the EU seemed to be the initial introduction many of my former students needed to spark their interest. Since then the change in political powers and the rise of Trumpism and other forms of Nationalism has got the backs up of many students I never would have expected to be so concerned (even though they should be).
We need more young people to be the change they want to see in the world. We need to give them the knowledge and skills to be critical, to analyse and to think for themselves. To take action and to be proactive. I knew very little about the power of protest when I was in high school (yes, that’s what secondary was called in Wales), over the years that has changed with the influence of technology. We need to teach young people how to use activism and technology to change the world for the good, for they will be the future leaders.
If we can support this in schools, think of the world they might have at our age?
2 // Every day is different
I’m sure you’ve seen those cheesy ads for teaching with the sayings ‘no day is the same’ and ‘every day is different’. As cheesy as it is, it really is the truth. I expect one thing out of the day and I get something completely different. I go into a lesson with the plan in my head, inevitably something happens that changes the course of the lesson I had planned out. Students surprise you. They make you laugh. They make you cry. They make you angry and frustrated. They make you happy and joyful. A day never turns out how I might expect.
The old saying ‘variety is the spice of life’ is too true when it comes to teaching. Embrace every day and what it throws at you.
Will other careers give you this much variety on a day-to-day basis?
3 // The “ah I get it” moments
I love that moment when a student struggles and struggles some more, then all of a sudden it falls into place. They get it. They see the big picture and all the puzzle pieces that make it up. They understand. They feel accomplishment. They feel success.
Who doesn’t love those moments? Do you get those in other careers?
4 // Learning is fun
As lame as that sounds, I know I wouldn’t have continued to learn as much if I weren’t a teacher. Being a teacher keeps you learning. It provides the perfect opportunity to continue your professional and subject development.
I originally went into teaching with the aim to get a PGCE qualification in order to return to environmental education. My knowledge development I’m sure would have remained in that sector. Through teaching I’ve developed pedagogical knowledge, geographical knowledge, historical knowledge, computing knowledge and the list goes on…
You never stop learning as a teacher. You’re a learner for life.
5 // You can be a rebel, you can start the rebellion
Too many teachers feel they have little say in the day to day running of the school. True but you can have an impact in your classroom. Every little action is a step along the way. Take a stand. Be brave enough to say no if you feel it won’t benefit your learners.
The more people that stand up, the more noise we make. The more noise we make, the hard it is for leaders not to listen (this seems so applicable to wider society as well as the moment).
Don’t do things just because you feel you have to; unions are there to support you. We are adults, we are educated and we have the right to fight for what we believe in.
That goes to the leaders of schools as well. Stand up to the politicians, the so called “Ofsted want to see” and be brave enough to put your staff and students first.
What would you add to the list?