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Teaching – why it’s still one of the best jobs

25 April 2017

Teaching – why it’s still one of the best jobs

Long hours, Ofsted inspections, ratty pupils, difficult parents, heavy workload, stress, bureaucracy …we could go on, but you’ve heard it all before.

Teaching is tough and by no means a ‘normal’ job.

But, it’s also one of the best jobs in the world, and you’re already making such a difference. People don’t go into teaching because it’s something to do when they leave school. People are teachers because they have a unique gift to inspire young people and create opportunities for them.
You’re not who you are because you’re a teacher. You’re a teacher because of who you are.
But, what makes teaching such a great career?

You're making a difference

Most people have a teacher that they remember long after they leave school for all the right reasons. It may be the teacher who always offered them a shoulder to cry on and a sympathetic ear when school was getting tough. Or, maybe the teacher who pushed them hard and helped them become the adult that they are today. They may have been one of those teachers who just inspired you to work hard and dream big.

If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember the great adverts that the then Teacher Training Agency released in the late 90s and early 00s with well-known people talking about the teacher that inspired them the most.

“When you get a teacher who inspires and cares about you, then it makes a big difference.” (From the Guardian Labs, ‘What makes a great teacher? Pupils have their say’)

As a 2002 article about the author and former teacher, Gervase Phinn says: “As so often happens, it was a single teacher who made the difference to the boy who was not even on the top table at school”… “She was absolutely brilliant.”

You’re more than just a teacher

You may not realise it, but you’re not just a teacher. You’re a nurse, a specialist and a general knowledge expert, a counsellor, a referee, a confidant and you probably play another five to ten roles, if not more, throughout the school day.

You’re also a role model and a mentor and not always just to your students – colleagues, parents even sometimes the neighbours will sometimes come to you for guidance and advice because you’re trusted, and people have confidence in you.

And, because of this, you’re able to build positive relationships with your immediate circle and the wider community.

Importantly, sometimes you may be the only caring adult in a child’s life.

You’re still learning, and you’re always getting better

There’s no doubt that teaching changes at such a fast rate that sometimes it’s hard to keep up. But teachers are the most adaptable professionals when it comes to change, and you’re always up to the challenge. If you don’t like where you’re working, you’re always in demand, so you can move onto another school or college and make the difference there.

And, you probably learn as much from your students as you teach. How many of you joined your school as an English Teacher and are now running after school clubs, sports groups or are now a world expert crafter?

No day at school is ever the same.

You’re part of something special

If you’re a teacher, you’re part of something important – a community of like-minded people, working towards a common purpose, supporting each other and teaching, and learning, from your students. The results of your efforts are sometimes very immediate and easy to see. How satisfying is it when you see a pupil finally ‘get it’; when you see that moment when all your hard work pays off as they get that look of realisation and understanding.

Perhaps, more satisfying is seeing the pupils you have taught in the past in their roles as adults. How many of you have met with an former pupil in the least expected place and you can see the person they have become.

You have great opportunities

There are several passages into leadership if this is something you want to pursue. You can take responsibility for a particular group of pupils, a Key Stage or a year group and from there you can make your way up to Headteacher.

Some of the teaching success stories we’ve read over the last year have been inspiring and heartwarming, such as the success of West Rise Primary in Eastbourne, a disadvantaged area that could so easily have struggled with its problems rather than rising above them. Or, the Florida-based teacher who has challenged people’s views on children with special needs by interviewing them on film and posting them on Facebook to showcase these children’s true potential and what they could offer society.

You’re doing a great job

So, ok you’re often blamed for society’s problems, which are not your fault. You have to deal with ungrateful parents, demanding children, intimidating Ofsted inspectors and your workload makes your work/life balance an enormous challenge. In addition to this, you have to handle budgets being over stretched, an unkind media and a profession that is often viewed as a bleak and depressing.

But, teaching chose you for a reason and we think you’re doing a pretty good job.

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