Teaching, Students, Ex-Students, and Parents…

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First published in The Portsmouth News, Tuesday 21st October 2014

In my job, I am lucky enough to work with some extraordinary families. As teachers, we are in the privileged position of seeing families and children at both their best, and worst, of times. We are also lucky enough to be able to help those children, and their families, to become the best that they can be.

I love my job, and I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I first saw one write on a blackboard in 1981. I love the people, the experiences, the subject and the passion. It gives me a true sense of self-worth, and – somewhat dramatically, yet true – I always feel as though I am doing what I was put on earth to do.

I am surrounded by like-minded colleagues on a daily basis, and the satisfaction of being able to help a student get to where they want to be, is unbeatable. As teachers, we are simply facilitators of this – it’s the kids who do the hardest work – but it’s a wonderful career to be in.

The school where I work is almost like a family itself. I count myself fortunate to be in a strong, friendly, supportive team. Because there’s also no question that teaching can be tough. It’s a 24/7 job. You never stop thinking about your responsibility to the students and, yes, we do work on ‘insect’ days. We also have to find childcare for our own kids on their inset days, so we empathise with working parents the country over.

It’s tough being a kid, and it’s tough being a parent. When we’re young, we moan about wanting to be older. We think of how fabulous it will be to have independence and to come and go as we please. But not only is it hard enough just traversing our way through our teenage years, it’s even harder once we have the bills and the mortgage to pay. In fact, we usually then dream of being young again.

Of course, I occasionally hear sad stories about the students that I’ve taught, and this can be heart-breaking when you’ve seen such innocent potential, guileless and young. But these moments are out-weighed by the great and the good.

Some of the kids that I’ve taught are in their mid-twenties now. Some are parents themselves. Some are even teachers, which is fantastic. I also hear via social media from both ex-students and their parents, and I love it when they get in touch.

To see how they’ve progressed through life, and to hear about the successes that they have achieved, is a truly wonderful thing.

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