Since becoming a teacher, I am frequently presented with the same introduction when meeting new people.
'This is Nat. Guess what? She's a Teacher!' This then leads to question after question about what I teach, whether it's secondary or primary; how I cope with annoying students and how I must love all those holidays I get. As I've repeated the same thing many times before, some people can detect the boredom in my voice.
However, the one question that makes my eyes light up about my job is when i'm asked about the students and what they are like. With this question I can talk for ages!
If you are a teacher reading this, you will know the feeling of doubting that teaching is what you want to do: the admin, the stress of remembering to do a billion and one things; the late nights of marking and planning; the observations and the constructive criticism that you must smile through, take on board and then aim to do better; the strive for outstanding; the hours of planning for the lessons that turn into a complete and utter disasters, and the outburst from students (and yourself at times). Most of the time you are left with the ultimate question: is this all worth it?
For me, it's the students that make it worth it. The relationships I build with them is the reason why I do this job. With the challenges that so many young people face today, it is more important than ever for my students to have an adult that acts as a champion in their corner.
The role of a teacher is more than just teaching students to pass an exam. A teacher can also be a mentor, a guidance counsellor, a parent, and a role model. I know that not every child I teach has positive experiences with adults in their lives, which makes it even more important for me to be that positive adult for them.
Not everyday is great, BUT, with that said, there are the moments of pure satisfaction. When I see the expression on their face because the learning has clicked; when they are excited to see me after a two week holiday, or when they come to me for advice or a place to work because they feel comfortable enough to come to me. These are the satisfying moments that make me happy- happy to be their teacher. A good teacher is like a candle, It consumes itself to light the way for others.
I know that not all of my students will remember what I have taught them in ten years time, however I hope that they can remember me and how I made them feel about themselves and their education.
Motivation and emotional impact is what matters.
Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.