I was lucky enough to be invited along to a Plymouth primary school to join in on an introduction to the new Digital Literacy course for the new starters. Bob Harrison gave a great interactive talk, with a lot of questions for us, getting us thinking – hard to do that when you have had the Summer off!
At midday, we were given hints and tips for interviews by both Bob and the head teacher of the school – I was particularly interested after Pete reminded me that I will be applying for teaching positions in just over a year!
Both Bob and the head teacher said that a question that will always be asked is “why do you want to be a teacher”? As we went around the room, almost all the answers were the same –
“I want to inspire children”. “I enjoy working with children”.
This made me think – I’m not sure I have ever really thought, “why do I want to be a teacher”? I just know that I have always wanted this.
I remember wanting to be a teacher at school, mostly because of a few stand-out teachers and so I did my work experience aged 15 in a primary school. Having ‘achieved’ a D in my Science GCSE, I wasn’t able to do a teaching degree and by 16 I had enough of education. I attempted AS Levels and struggled and so entered the world of work, working in offices and later as a Legal Secretary, along with a couple of trips to Asia and Eastern Europe.
Throughout this time, I knew I still wanted to teach, and so I took an Access to Higher Education course (a life-changer for a ‘mature’ student!) and the University of Plymouth was kind enough to let me take a Science equivalency test which meant I finally had a good enough Science GCSE to take the course!
However, I have gotten to Year Three, without really having an answer to why I want to teach. When you decide as a child that you want to be a teacher when you’re older, you don’t think along the lines of being inspiring or changing children’s lives.
When I think now about what excites me about being a teacher, having had experiences in placements, the thing that does stand out is seeing a child go from struggling and not understanding something, to that moment when they ‘get it’ and you know that you have got them to that point.
Another main reason for me, is that having been through a period between the ages of 16-21 when learning did not appeal to me at all, I suddenly reached a stage where I found learning fun and enjoyable. The beauty of teaching is that not only are you educating the children, but you are constantly being educated yourself. Teaching is always changing and developing, even more so in my specialism of ICT, and so I feel honoured to be going in to a career where I every day I get to teach, but also I get to learn myself.
When I do get thinking about it, of course there are many reasons why I am going in to teaching:
- - The job satisfaction of knowing that you have done something good that day.
- - To be able to spend my day working with children – having worked in offices for 5 years, I know that working with children is way more appealing for me!
- - To know that when a child leaves my class, I have changed their life, even if only slightly.
- - To help children to enjoy primary school, as I did, and to hopefully be a teacher that they can look back on fondly, as I do with a few of mine.
- - To be a good role model to the children.
- - On a purely selfish note and looking to the future – teaching is a great career to get in to as a woman in terms of having a family – although this is just a bonus, rather than a reason.
- - To use my head – I spent way too long working in jobs where I would turn up, do as I was told and leave – I am looking forward to being able to take charge of my class, giving them interesting and exciting lessons and being creative in my teaching.
The list goes on…!
So, just out of curiosity, why did you go in to teaching? Was it a lifetime ambition or a decision made later on?