I’m a primary school teacher from rural NSW in Australia and I’ve been teaching for 14 years. I can assure you that there is never a dull day! Teaching is the most rewarding yet challenging of professions. We as teachers, have the power to help shape and create amazing lives. It takes a very special person to be a teacher. In my time as a teacher, I have uncovered hundreds of truths and realities about the profession. Here are just 24….
1. You have the biggest bladder in the world! Seriously, peeing is a privilege. It’s amazing how long you can hold.
2. You spend more time planning and completing admin than you do face-to-face teaching – Sad, but true. But preparation and documenting everything is vital and needs to be done religiously. But it makes it all worth it when the over-time pay comes in right? Wrong.
3. You have a no-BS policy – No drama, no long-winded explanations, no denial, no lying and no excuses!
4. Windy days and children don’t mix! It’s like herding cats.
5. You wear your hair up every day – Even if it doesn’t suit your outfit or look very good. No one likes a creepy crawly in their hair!
6. You give, give and give selflessly – You’ve brought in toiletries, spare clothes and resources from home so that every child’s needs are met. You’ve also shared or given your lunch to a child without any on many occasions.
7. Sometimes you actually consider recording your instructions and requests so that you can simply press ‘replay’ – Seriously, how many times can you physically repeat yourself before grey hair starts to sprout out the top of your head and you lose your voice (and your sanity?)
8. You’ve never had to be so explicit – “Go to the toilet” quickly gets rephrased with “Go to the toilet – and do a wee,” because apparently the first request is open to interpretation.
9. You’re told to differentiate learning for all students, and then sit them down to complete a standardized test – It doesn’t make any sense does it?
10. You use your teacher voice on your husband and kids – And it works.
11. You spend all day picking up so many jumpers, hats and track suit pants that you actually believe that you work at Target – You become the master of returning lost property, folding jumpers and wondering whether or not working at Target would be less stressful than teaching.
12. Sometimes you wonder whether or not the English language will still be in existence in 20 years – Bz atm kids r riting lik dis. 4 real bro.
13. You really do have eyes in the back of your head and the ability to internally roll your eyes – True story. Don’t make me prove it!
14. Sometimes it’s hard not to laugh when a student blurts out something inappropriate; but you do because it’s totally hilarious – This is right before you pull yourself together and correct them.
15. Consistency is a foreign concept to some children – It’s like watching a puppy persistently run and jump up a fence, trying to escape from the yard, until it completely exhausts itself and gives up, accepting defeat.
16. The quieter your voice gets, the more concerned your students should be – You even frighten yourself!
17. You wish that parents understood that we’re all on the same team! We don’t want to fight with parents. We want them to understand that we care about their child just as much as they do. We want them to know that we value their child and work bloody hard to meet their needs. There’s no need to scream at us.
18. Some days you wonder whether you’re the teacher or the parent – These roles can be easily confused and blend together. Those who can do both are truly gifted teachers.
19. You ‘love’ it when parents and non-teachers tell you how you should be doing your job, because it’s so easy. Not. Every child has their own personality, needs, strengths, weaknesses and learning styles. Each child comes from a family who have their own set of values, practices, expectations and perceptions. There aren’t many people who can efficiently meet the needs of 20-30 students and their families, all at the same time. Let me do my job.
20. Sometimes meeting the parents explains a lot – No comment needed.
21. You drink a lot of wine – Squealing Pig Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is my personal preference.
22. You get emotional in front of everyone when a child finally understands a concept – Huge achievements bring huge rewards.
23. You lie awake in bed at night, worrying about your students and how else you can help them – Because you care so much.
24. Just when you think you can’t do this anymore and you’re ready to chuck it all in, you’re rewarded by a child who is shining so brightly at you from from within, that you remember why you became a teacher in the first place. You’ll be back tomorrow.