Thursday, 13 September 2012

Why does anyone bother to be a teacher?


For anyone who undertakes any kind of teacher training course (whether this is BEd, PGCE or GTP), this is a very valid question that doesn't occur to us prior to actually starting the course. Because, contrary to popular belief, teaching is HARD. Yes we get long holidays off but that is the only truth amongst all the myths. Of course, we do get the weekends off as well but those are spent planning. So, technically, you can count those as work days. It is also not true that we only work 9am-3pm. I am only a trainee and I was in school from 8am-6pm most days. And I still had work to do when I got back home. I dread to think the kind of hours I will be working, when I have complete control of my own class.

Believe it or not, the hours in front of the class are the fun and easy bit. The aspect that people don't seem to take into account at all, is all the planning and preparation that goes on beforehand. This is what takes up the majority of my time. And it is made so much worse by the fact that the government constantly meddles with what the teachers can and can't tell the children, what should be included, the rate that children should progress (despite the fact that this is a very personal thing that shouldn't be generalised) etc etc etc. They, from their cosy little offices, dictate how schools should be run and leaves the teachers to struggle through the ensuing chaos. Something that I don't think I will ever be able to fully accept. But you don't find all this out until you actually start the job.

So it begs the question, why does anyone go through all the stress of training to be even more stressed while they are working. And the answer is quite simple: because of their love of children. Not in a creepy rapey kind of way but, when it goes well, working with kids can be absolutely amazing; rewarding, hilarious and hugely satisfying when they successfully grasp what you want them to. I have always said that being in the classroom with the children is the bit that I really enjoy. It's just everything else which I dislike. So this holiday I have been teaching some instrumental music lessons and absolutely loved it. I have been able to dictate how and what I want to teach and the pace they should be progressing at. No one is breathing over my shoulder, telling me that I am doing it wrong or that I should be teaching different things....making it much more enjoyable for both teacher and pupil. Maybe I should take this and personal tutoring up as my career instead!

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