I don’t know whether it’s just the time of year but lately I’ve been reading a number of blog posts where teachers have proclaimed their intentions to give up on Teaching. The list as to why is long, and after analysing everything that comes with a career in education, I’d say they have a pretty valid point. I am, by no means, judging anybody that decides to change their life choices, you should always do what is best for you, but sometimes I feel it’s good to have someone question your motives.
I’d like to start by saying I am not a teacher. I’ve never stood on that side of the classroom, I can’t relate to your heavy work loads, or the pressure that Ofsted brings. I can’t say that I’ve ever had to control more than three children at once, or mark anyone elses work. I hold my hands up and say that I can’t relate to a typical day of teaching, and I probably can’t begin to understand how stressful it is, so I understand if right now you’re questioning how on earth I’m sitting here typing this. If I’m honest, I don’t know if I’d be able to do what you do. I work with teachers every day and I see how tired they become, how they stop worrying about themselves and worry about children that aren’t even theirs, how they give up a social life and most of their precious evenings to put work first. No, I can’t say it appeals to me, so god knows how it appeals to you.
But wait, before you say ‘well there you go then’, I’d just like to remind you that I have GCSE’s, A Levels and a degree. I can read, I can write, I pay my bills every month and I’m confident and proud of all that I have achieved. I’m not gloating, I’m saying thank you, because all of these things wouldn’t have been possible without the help and constant dedication of a teacher.
Today I know that teaching has become harder than ever, so being able to go to school and change a child’s life is definitely something to be proud of. There were times that I was difficult (but lets not go too much in to that), and people persevered. Nobody ever said that it was easy, but then again I can’t actually think of many rewarding jobs that are. Bad days will come, but you do still want to do this job. You still want to open your classroom door in the morning and prepare for the day. You want all of those gruelling hours of studying to pay off and it is lovely to see a child succeed, even if at the beginning of the year you were having recurrent nightmares about them.
As difficult as being a teacher has become, it is not in your nature to throw the towel in. Everybody said that I would miss my days at school, and I do. Those years were some of the most important in my life. They shaped me, helped me and yes, they pissed me off – but would I be where I am today? Absolutely not. I know that one person’s point of view doesn’t paint the bigger picture, it doesn’t help you on those days where your judged on your class’ test score or help those who don’t see education as a priority to understand, but hopefully it’ll make you realise that although it’s not always said, there are plenty of us that are continuously thankful for what you do.
Giving up has never been the correct way to solve a situation, nor will it change the way things are in the world of Teaching. We are not superhumans, so don’t try to be. Be your best whenever possible and be patient. Teachers are much like parents—when they fail they feel like they’ve the children down, and the guilt can be difficult. You will have good days & bad days, good years & bad years, but in continuing you help others succeed. Every child has their moment of weakness just like you do, but we’re all taught never to quit, so I feel that it’s vital for you to take a leaf out of that book.