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Celebrating teachers, Education, Teachers' Own Words

Teaching – why do I bother?

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.

~ Dianne

Teacher Proud

About Save Our Schools NZ

"One needs to be slow to form convictions, but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds." Gandhi


4 thoughts on “Teaching – why do I bother?

  1. I know exactly what you’re saying. 🙂 You go girl!


    Posted by Alison. | November 19, 2014, 6:54 am
  2. The thing is – when we’ve been ‘out’ of teaching for a while, it is so easy to idealise the classroom experience. Those who know – who are there now – realise that the joy of the day to day learning, the fun of it, is being sucked away by the data collection; the number crunching; the triple layers of assessment proof; the detailed professional journalling; the challenging learners who are exponentially over represented and under funded. The impositions of more and more, without taking something away – you’ve written about it, protested it, decried the developments, but living with them, working with them just ain’t fun any more.
    Activism, researching, personal professional development, participating in actions/activities/events over and above what we need to do to run a classroom effectively, alongside maybe a couple of curriculum or collegial responsibilities which are expected of experienced teachers – these things become impossible to fit in if you want to sustain your energy and still carve out a tiny piece of your own personal and family space.
    Di – trust those who are telling you – it is not the same. Yes, we are always teachers to the bone, no matter where we are, or what changes to our career we make. But it is not the same beast you left.
    More power to you, but be prepared to be shocked – the coalface is grimy.

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Natalie | December 5, 2014, 9:42 pm
  3. That’s my a fear I have, Natalie. How sad that good – in fact great – teachers are being beaten down like this. Kia kaha. x


    Posted by Save Our Schools NZ | December 5, 2014, 10:07 pm
  4. You are dead right….you have to be a special sort of person, one who continually gives with no expectation of receiving much at all. Your time will no longer be your own and your ability to fight the GERM will be seriously eroded. And those driving the privatisation know this of teachers….that ultimately we will put up with anything to continue following our calling…..and that we are too exhausted to fight back effectively. Many of my colleagues, devoted and passionate educators, are just too tired and under-resourced to push back.


    Posted by Debbie | December 5, 2014, 10:15 pm

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