The very best thing about teaching is the kids. That magical feeling of deep connection and fun in the classroom is unbeatable. I am very blessed that I can have that magic almost every day with at least one of my classes, sometimes all of them.
And that is a truly wonderful day.
As much as I am sometimes a cranky woman in my classroom, today I had an epiphany that I need to be or we would never get anything done. Lessons that should take twenty minutes max, on days like today drag out the entire period. And I would like to blame the poor behaviour of my students, but that would be a lie.
Today, yes today, it was my fault, with both of my classes.
And that is why I should not be happy in my classroom.
And can’t stop.
And they laugh, and they enjoy it, but I’m naughty. We don’t get enough done.
My Year 8 class are also taught by my partner in crime. When I received my allocation last year, she was overjoyed that we were both going to teach them. I had reservations; I had had to mete out a lot of consequences in Art last year for poor behaviour choices from many of these kids.
But I was wrong.
I adore them.
And yesterday, when my partner in crime was having a bit of a rough moment, one of the boys told her to calm down. And now, I think he regrets it.
For two lessons I have paid him back. We have all enjoyed it. I think there were even moments that he enjoyed it. I mean, he was smiling. Well, most of the time.
And then one of the girls told one of the other girls to use expression when she presented her part in the play. So, fairly, when the director presented her part I gave permission for the first girl to say the same thing to her. And that just went from funny to hilarious.
And then we all turned our attention back to the boy.
He has a strong heart. And he knows I was only teasing. Please don’t think I’m an evil bully. He is coping.
And as I said, they all left smiling and laughing, and that’s what you want sometimes. As a teacher it makes you excited for next week. I’m grateful for the weekend, but I’m not resenting going back to work next week either.
A good day.
Plus I think six formal cautions. Not for my kids. Other people’s. After a mental day yesterday.
I am tired today 😦 hehe but do not feel sorry for me.
And in the interests of me writing regularly I am fighting through my tiredness to write what will become a scintillating and mesmerising post I am sure. Tonight’s topic is Education and in particular the obstacles I perceive that I encounter. Well, at this point it is about that but it might change; I have no road map tonight.
I absolutely love being a teacher. I love my time in the classroom where I build relationships with beautiful people and help them, inspire them, to find their path to learning and to becoming inspired. I love that moment when one of my kids look at me after I have explained something and their eyes light up because they get it; something that had been elusive has finally been captured and you can see it in their faces – belief that they are smart and that ultimately, they are good enough because they can learn, and do learn. There are few more amazing feelings and rewards in life. Especially in teaching in my modern world.
And to digress further still, I am just feeling a warmth in my heart because when I feel especially good about my job I usually think immediately of my Year 8 class. I love them. I love teaching them. I love just being in the classroom with them. When I look at them I imagine that what I am feeling is akin to the way parents feel when they look at their babies. They inspire me, every day, to want to be the very best teacher for them. Because they deserve that. They work so hard and are such engaged and beautiful creatures.
And then I think of my infuriating Year 12 class whom I also love to pieces, more than I ever thought would be possible because they annoy me to tears. Everything we do takes longer because they need to tease each other, to talk to each other, to ignore me and then ask me to repeat everything I say millions of times that by the end of the tenth repeat I am hissing at them through gritted teeth. I love them because when I read out a technique and ask them to identify it they can. And if they get it wrong it doesn’t matter because they tried and because they were close. I love that. Because through that I know that I have taught them something. And I know that they have tried and they weren’t afraid to get it wrong and they feel safe in my room to make the mistake. They also make me laugh because even if we all deny it (and we will), we all love each other.
And then there is my smart class. My Year 11 Extension class. Nine girls that stay every Monday afternoon and work solidly from 2.45 to 5 pm. They devour our texts. They devour the ideas. And then they doubt themselves, and that humility is so refreshing. They are smart kids. All with their own life issues; all hiding in education as much as they blossom through it. They just don’t give up. And that resilience, more than their intelligence and their collective ability to connect ideas, will force them through this course to success. I walk out of that room alive every Monday. Tired but alive. And feeling blessed.
Blessed. Not with Year 9 lol. Nup. If Year 12 are annoying, Year 9 are … no words … lol. And still, I love them too. I get frustrated because they talk all of the time, they doubt their/my ability, they can be lazy and they struggle to think outside of the box. They possess no humility as a group. They are so rude to casual teachers even though they know they will get double the consequences; it is almost as if my absence is the key to the cell. I love them as individuals but I also love that they keep forcing me to strive for different ways to engage them. And also that before assessment tasks the monsters metamorphose and my email inbox and phone becomes inundated with, “Can you please check my task?” What’s not to love.
And then my Lions. Teaching Health. I’ve worked out how they work best. And so we work together for the most part. I look forward to teaching them. A mixed age group class with as many personalities as there are breaths. A light moment in otherwise congested days.
How lucky I am to have found my calling. Since that day in first class when I arrived home to announce to my mum that I wanted to be a teacher. And here, almost forty years later, I know it was the right career for me. Calling, I prefer. If you aren’t called to do something, can you be truly passionate and committed to success?
And really, teachers should be called to the profession. Today too many are here for the wrong reasons. They are unwilling to reflect, evaluate and learn new things. They do not possess high expectations of themselves or the kids. They don’t keep fighting to get it right, to inspire the kids, to be inspired themselves.
And they are my chief obstacles. And it isn’t fair or right. Our job isn’t easy. Teenagers suck. But man, they can be beautiful, and loving, and committed, and compliant … especially if you love them, and tell them every day.