Five minutes back from holidays and it’s like I never had them. The bustling environment of a school is always busy and loud – the atmosphere one of excitement mixed with both a healthy dose of terror and loathing.
Once I’m there, I love it.
It’s just the coming back after a delightful two weeks free of alarms, bells and early rises that makes it so hard.
I think deep down I knew I was always going to be a teacher. Some would say it’s in my blood. Fair to say that many in my family before me have done their time ‘chalking and talking’.
During my first few years at University, I fought this natural inclination quite hard, my plan being to join the ranks of the Business Communications industry by way of a degree majoring in Public Relations (PR). But that’s a story for another day…
It wasn’t until after I had my first child that I decided to join the majority of my family in the teaching profession. I am so very glad now that I did.
Teaching is my passion – that, along with my children. I feel so privileged to be entrusted with the opportunity, and tremendous responsibility, of imparting knowledge in our youth. Each year brings with it a new group of excited, eclectic, and generally enthusiastic students, who are doe-eyed, and eager to ‘check out’ their new surroundings at high school. I am a Year Seven teacher, so I help ensure that the transition to high school is smooth and enjoyable, and as issue-free as possible. As a parent myself, I know exactly how much difference having an effective teacher can make to your child, both in their academic and personal development, as well as their day-to-day wellbeing.
The first line I deliver to parents on ‘Meet the Teacher Night’ is always something along the lines of: ‘I have five kids, I appreciate how difficult this can be for you both, and my first priority is your child and their happiness.’
Not to butt-kiss, but because this is exactly what I would want to hear. It is such a nerve-wracking time, not just for the students, but for parents too.
The first seven years of my teaching career was spent as a primary school teacher. I taught mostly Upper school: Years Six and Seven. My specialisation in Middle Schooling allowed me to focus particularly on these transitional years between childhood and adulthood. When Year Seven became the first year of high school, I decided it would be a great option for me to transition to high school too.
I was right.
In a non-hookerish sense, much of teaching involves selling yourself. Not only to the students, but also to their parents.
A critical part of our position as teachers is bestowing confidence in our parents that their precious offspring are in good hands, and that you and all other staff members will nurture and protect them and their needs each day.
That is not easy to do in a half hour ‘Meet and Greet the Teachers’ session. It’s the ongoing communication that is so important in achieving this. The best teachers my kids have had, coincidentally, are those that have kept me ‘in the loop’ and thus allowed me to be actively involved in my child’s schooling experience. We, as parents, like to know what is happening in our kids’ lives – and we can’t always rely on our children to provide us with this information.
The largest and most important part of the job is the relationship building – which is the part I find so interesting. I love the challenge of ‘winning over’ the kids – watching their personalities emerge and flourish as I weave in appropriate boundaries, interesting and tailored lessons and a healthy dose of humour. It’s definitely not all rainbows and sunshine: there are meetings, deadlines, marking, lesson planning, reporting, playground duties, curriculum alignment – the list goes on. There are just so very many boxes to tick. At times, there are so many that it feels completely overwhelming and you wonder how it will all ever get done. But it does. It always does.
Granted, some days are better than others, but on the whole, it’s the perfect job for me.