It’s the new year, which seems like a good time to write another long over-due blog post. My last post was in October and a lot has happened since then. Highlights included another breakdown in school in which I questioned why on earth I am putting myself through this. Ahh- no half-term is complete without me crying in my classroom after an awful lesson, hiding behind the cupboard door as I put the books away.
Anyway, as my New Year’s resolution is to be more positive, I won’t dwell on that. Instead, I’ve decided to do a Buzzfeed-style ‘4 things I thought about teachers as a child that I now know aren’t true’- not exactly catchy, but I’m sure it won’t be making it onto Buzzfeed anytime soon anyway. So, in no particular order….
1. Teachers know everything
I used to be so in awe of my teachers, for knowing so much about so many different things. How can they keep it all in their brain? How do they remember all this stuff? The reason lesson planning is currently taking me so long is that for a lot of it, I am teaching myself the content while I am planning it, so that I can stand up in front of 30 students the next day and teach them the topic as if I am the most knowledgeable person ever and I have known this stuff all my life. Obviously, there’s still always the possibility that a student will ask a question about a different topic and I will be caught out, but luckily that’s what the “That’s not relevant, we’re learning about this today.” comment is for. That at least gives me enough time to google an answer before the end of the lesson.
2. Teachers get so many holidays
So this one is true, but I just didn’t appreciate as a child that those holidays are so necessary. During term time, I basically work non-stop. I know I am still training so everything is taking me twice as long as it should, but the days are still long and so really when you add it all up, the amount of holiday we have just about makes up for all the extra work we need to do outside of school hours. Plus, those lessons in the new term aren’t going to plan themselves, which means yet more work in the school holidays. Also, unfortunately if you’re doing Teach First, the Christmas holiday also means an opportunity to finally get started on that 6000 word assignment due in January that you’ve been avoiding. Although who am I kidding, I would still much rather the 13 weeks of holiday that comes with teaching than just 5-6 weeks in other jobs.
3. All they do is teach
They’re called teachers, so that’s what they do, just show up and teach, then go home. Apart from the extra work I’ve already mentioned such as planning and marking, there’s also the things you have no idea about, like phone calls to parents, putting detentions on the system, staff meetings, doing reports, setting targets, trying (and failing) to control student behaviour, offering advice about what they can get their girlfriend for Christmas, listening to students fill you in on all the drama that’s going on in their year, trying to get a year 7 class to come back into the classroom instead of running down the corridor to go and watch the ‘beef’ that’s about to kick off between a year 7 and year 10 girl etc.- it’s definitely a varied job.
4. Doing the register is fun
This is just a throwback to my first post where I mentioned that when I was younger I would pretend to be a teacher, which involved doing a pretend register with all the names I could think of. I don’t know why I found it so fun, but there was something so satisfying about it. In reality however, the register is more of a chore that needs to be done as quickly as possible after the start of the lesson and usually goes something like…. “Jess… no, Molly, Michael, Emily… right Jess you’re late come in, Sam… where’s Sam gone? He was here a minute ago. Oh, he’s outside. Ok so he just came in, sang kumbaya and then left? Cool ok.” That’s if I remember to do it. If I don’t, it’s more like students repeatedly shouting at me “Miss! Miss! You need to do the register! Miss, you haven’t done the register! That is a legal document!” twenty minutes into the lesson.
Anyway, it’s back to school tomorrow and the teaching begins again on Thursday. Here’s hoping that Santa brought the students some manners and respect for Christmas. Or some new kids altogether would be nice too, I’m not fussy…