Over the past few months, many people have asked me why I would even consider going back to teaching next year. Quite a few friends have suggested I should get into politics instead, some have sent me details about jobs in social media, and one or two have asked whether I might want to expand the tutoring I do. Repeatedly, I am reminded by them that teaching is “full on” and that I’ll be “done in” – best do something else, they kindly suggest.
What I have to explain is that although they are right, I love my job.
I am a teacher.
While at home raising my own child, I am a teacher.
Doing the shopping, I’m a teacher.
In the library, I’m a teacher.
At dinner parties, I’m a teacher.
Watching the news, reading the papers, on Facebook or Twitter, I’m first and foremost a teacher.
It is everything that I am and all I want to be.
The politics is important, of course. Keeping an eye on government policy, attending select committee meetings, meeting with experts, discussing ideas with others, running SOSNZ, sharing information – all of that matters a great deal.
And yes, in teaching, the hours of paperwork, the planning, the endless policy changes, the meetings, the scant professional development on offer – all of that can be frustrating.
But I’ll take it on the chin, because nothing compares to teaching.
Being able to help a child find their skills, grow in confidence, appreciate others’ talents, set their own goals, share their knowledge, and grow as a person is an honour above all others and is just magical. That moment when a child realises they can do the very thing they thought was beyond them – that look – that triumph – what reward could top that? Being there for the child who is feeling down or sick or a little lost, and being a caring and reliable adult for them, is a privilege. Working with parents, together, with the child at the centre is great.
And once I’m in my classroom, all that matter are the students. We are a family, a team. And boy, do we have fun! I learn, they learn – we go on magical journeys.
Just writing this, I am grinning.
So next time someone asks me why I bother teaching, I will tell them: Because it is all that I am, and I love it.