I have now been a teacher for ten years. I never intended it to be my long-term career, I always thought it would be something I'd do for a while and then move on. That's partly because I knew that at some point, teaching tires you out. (There are notable exceptions to this, some of whom I have witnessed with my very own eyes - those people are simply born to be teachers!) I have seen it many times: the teacher that has gone past his/her sell-by-date. Weary and armed with little patience, they go through the motions, really wishing there were anywhere but in front of 20+ energetic 8 year olds.
But I still do it and I still love it. Yes, I would love a change, relish it even, but when it comes to it, in the morning, when I stand in front of my class and start the day, I'm still happy to be there!
So here are the ten things I love about being a teacher:
1. No day is ever the same
One day you are on a trip to the zoo, the next you are eating pizza and teaching fractions. The day after that you might be dressed as a pirate, the next day you have Sports Day and you are in your tracksuit. No day is the same, yet there is a comforting routine to it too.
2. The smiles
No matter how grumpy or tired you feel, no matter what has happened to you in the morning on the way to work, or last night, there are always smiles there to welcome you. And when you are looking at several smiley faces, you cannot help but smile back!
3. Making a difference
Ok, so I am not finding the cure of cancer, or saving lives in a hospital, but I know now, after ten years of teaching, that what I do does make a small difference to people's lives. I know that I have turned around children, who never liked school, into keen pupils, I know that because I have mums who tell me still, that I was the one to make their child like school. That's a difference I'm happy to make.
4. The energy
This one really is a double edge sword. Sometimes I love it, it picks me up and carries me through the day. Sometimes I want to close my eyes and hide under my desk. Teaching is not a job that you can do if you are feeling under the weather. You cannot simply sit at your desk and type away, make a few phonecalls and then close your eyes and feel sorry for yourself. But more often than not, the children's energy will pick you up and carry you through (until you get home and collapse...)
5. Looking at things from a whole new perspective
It can be so refreshing to look at things for the first time. Children do that every day, usually with few biases and no preconceptions. If you let yourself, as a teacher, you too can experience the newness and wonder of the world. It is mesmerising!
6. The chance to see (and help) other succeed
If you are doing it well (which I would like to think I manage, at least half the time) you will be setting your children up for small successes every day. There is no satisfaction bigger than seeing children set goals and achieve them and you being part of the process.
7. The cards and letters
As a teacher you do tend to have a bit of rock-star status. I get cards and letters daily, from children telling me just how much the enjoy having me as their teacher. I bet you there is no other job where you hear praise every working day!!
8. The Holidays
Who am I kidding - I love working, but I also really really love decompressing after a long, hard term.
9. The staffroom
I am lucky that I work in a school where the staffroom is the sanctuary, where teachers go for tea and biscuits and a shoulder to cry on, or a good chinwag. It doesn't happen often (maybe for 10 minutes each day) but it is like therapy!
10. The silliness
In what other job to people get to dress up and be silly. Maybe if you're a clown, but I love the fact that my job gives me a chance to sometime be plain old silly! I might wear a wig and moustache (those eyebrows are all mine) or don a PowerRanger suit for a play. If it's silly, bring it on!