After my previous blog, which details some of the reasons I was dreading my return to the teaching world after 6 weeks of blissful summer holidays, a friend has challenged me to write another. I have been asked to produce a blog which outlines some of the positives of being a teacher today; initially, I felt pessimistic at the prospect, but I'm on board with the theory that we choose the way we perceive things.
I therefore decided to keep a log of the positives of being a teacher as they sprung to mind over the first couple of weeks of being back at school and I decided that I should aim for 10.
The first week back at work was actually much tougher than I'd prepared myself for as I was met with several unexpected challenges, a couple of which will probably continue to challenge me as the academic year continues. Finding 10 things I like about my job, whilst in the depths of negativity hasn't been the easiest thing to do, but actually finding 10 things, regardless how small has actually helped me gain more perspective. There are many bonuses to being a teacher, it's just that the school politics, paper work and endless goal post moving often over-shadows the good; it can also be difficult to step out of the contagious, negative pit once you're in it.
There are positives, I've found some! However, whether or not they're worth staying in teaching for is another question that I for one need to ask myself.
10 things I like about my job:
1. In my classroom, I'm my own manager.
Aside from observed lessons, most of the time I get to choose what my classes do on a day to day basis and how we do it. Being a person who likes to be in control and enjoys the freedom of doing things my own way, it works quite well. Sometimes I can plan a lesson and then realise half way through that the students aren't engaging too well, so I can swap and change things as I see fit. The freedom is great.
2. If I need to leave work at 3.30, most of the time, nobody is going to tell me that I can't.
Aside from the obligations and expectations of after-school clubs, meetings and paperwork, a lot of the time, I can leave school at 3.30 if I want to. This doesn't mean that I'd be comfortable with leaving school this early as it means I just have to return to the marking and the paperwork afterwards, however the freedom is there.
3. Sometimes, the kids make me laugh.
Kids are hilarious. They really do say the funniest things and now and then a child will crease me up and it adds a bit of fun and warmth to the rest of the day.
4. I have a free laptop which the school pays for and repairs.
I don't get commission or overtime, but I do get a laptop which I'm allowed to take home and use as I need it. I use it for work mostly, but now and then I use it for my leisure, like writing blogs for example.
5. I get to be at home with my family more than I could in other jobs.
If one of us are ill, I can leave school at 3.30 should I need to a lot of the time, I also get to spend the holidays with my family. I do work over the holidays, but I can work from home and that's not the same as working at work.
6. My day never drags and I hardly ever look at the clock.
Until teaching, I'd never had a job where I'd gone all day without counting down the hours until home time, it's actually the opposite on occasions as I look at the clock and wonder how on earth it
can be so late in the day when I still have X, Yand Z to do.
7. I don't have to wear a uniform.
What I find really strange about teaching is the lack of dress code at all. Most teachers dress smartly: suits, blouses, smart dresses. Some opt for the odd summer dress when they can, maxi dresses, sandals and there are always one or two teachers who come to work in what can only be described as "hippy clothes" covered in splashes of wild colour, knee high boots and tons of clinking jewellery. I'm all for freedom of expression and I like being able to choose and wear a nice outfit for work or, if I'm not feeling it, wrap up in a snuggly jumper and boots.
8. I'm learning all the time
Teachers don't know everything and we often have to research our own subject areas before we teach certain topics. This means that we're constantly learning and developing as topics, the curriculum and the syllabus changes.
9. When a kid achieves something amazing in one of my lessons, it's the biggest reward ever.
I love it when I know I've helped a child achieve something. One child I taught once developed a love of books after I introduced him to a genre I thought he might like; he then went on to excel in my subject.
10. Now and then, I connect with a child on a more personal level and it can make a difference to their lives and to ours.
A child once gave me a card saying I'd been "like an angel" to him after I'd supported him through a difficult time. Little tokens of gratitude make all the difference, which unfortunately, in the teaching world, can be rare.
If any teachers have further positives to share, please comment at the bottom of my blog. A bit of positivity is perhaps something that we can all benefit from :)