This is probably one of the first words I would use to define myself. Every day I realize anew that I am very, very lucky to do a job that I absolutely adore and that I believe is one of the most important jobs that exist. I am aware of the responsibilities it brings, and by that I don’t mean losing the odd child on a school trip or damaging them while mountain climbing or canyoning, but in their psychological development.
My motto is they won’t remember what you say (of course they won’t, they not listening) but they will remember how you made them feel”. I think about this hard when I’m tempted to lose my temper, shout, abuse my position of power. It’s not easy, it’s very tempting to yell at a kid who’s “forgotten” his homework for the nth time, but if you’ve ever been shouted down in public since becoming an adult you’ll remember what a humiliating experience it is, and that is what I think about as I deal with another book that has been eaten by a dead grandma.
We all think, and frequently say that kids have it easy in this day and age, they have objects we never had, i-phones, computers, etc., they do things we couldn’t - I wasn’t allowed out without wellies if it was raining until I left home, they even have cartoons 24/7, not just on Saturday mornings. However, a lot of children have less freedom than we did, do you know many 10 year olds that leave the house before their parents wake up, to come back around lunchtime if all goes according to plan?
My pupils are mostly teenagers, and although they have everything on a plate, don’t know they’re born etc. if you think back a little you’ll remember how hard being a teenager is. You don’t speak the same language as the adults around you, nobody understands how much your heartbreak really hurts, he may only have been your boyfriend for a week or so, but you really loved him, now you are really sad, and no-one cares.
Then there’s the low lying terror of the future. At some point you are going to have to find a job to support yourself financially, and find somewhere to live, learn about wiring and insurance, it’s all very frightening.
Not to mention getting to know yourself, as a teenager you feel so self-conscious, everyone is looking at you, a bad haircut is as bad as breaking your leg, braces and you may as well be in a wheelchair.
Bearing all this in mind, I try and teach self-confidence, self-knowledge, and respect, English (my subject) will come along when they need it. I honestly believe, as I have said, that us teachers have one of the most important jobs in the world, it’s a pity the pay is not linked to this, but then nobody ever became a teacher to get rich.