Here goes. First official blog post! It’s true what they say. When you do something you love, those bricks come off very easily indeed. Deep breath. 3, 2, 1...
Teaching- my career, no longer my passion, a job I’ve battled with for many years. It’s a love/hate relationship. And please. Don’t start on me about the holidays- yes we have them, get over it, moving on.
Teaching was my second foray into tertiary education. The first being journalism (of which I only lasted a few weeks) and then teaching. You see, the thing is, I didn’t necessarily always want to be a teacher. I wasn’t that kid who pretended to teach her siblings or the kid who set up a classroom at home. No, that wasn’t me. Teaching was a decision based on the good old ‘oh but you’re great with kids, why not become a teacher?’ ‘You would make a great teacher!’ ‘Any child would be lucky to have you as their teacher!’ Bla bla bla.
I don’t mean to sound negative but if this blog is about my musings, my frustrations, my gripes with the world, this is where I need to start. Black and white, no grey areas for me here.
Teaching used to be something I really enjoyed. Hours spent searching for engaging resources, cutting, laminating, researching new and innovative ideas. It became immediately obvious that I wasn't only interested in different teaching strategies but the very fundamentals of HOW students learn- What motivates them? How could I make a difference to the confidence levels of my students? How could I successfully create a classroom environment free of fear- fear of learning, fear of mistakes, fear of taking risks. For a long time, I honestly felt I achieved this well. When I had students who were too afraid to write a sentence without asking for help to writing two pages independently by the end of the year, this is what I would refer to as a 'proud teacher moment'. No, these students were not going to end up being Einstein or the next Elon Musk but I had showed them that they did have worth, their words meant something and they could only continue getting better if they kept pushing and challenging themselves.
Sadly, this is no longer the essence of teaching. It is no longer the fundamental thing that underpins our education system. Students- their personalities, their quirks, their uniqueness is being undervalued by this craving for results. Trying to fit every child into a neat little box, wrapped up with a bow. Tests, tests and more tests. Data, data and more data. Let's tick boxes (and spend hours doing so) at the expense of creating quality, authentic lessons that will engage students and encourage them to LEARN! Which is the exact definition of my job. To engage students in learning. Learning, not regurgitating, not memorising, not copying but learning. Learning outcomes but really learning problem solving, perseverance, communication and resilience.
Grrrr I could go on for hours on this topic but I am going to leave it here for now. My musings always flair up on a Sunday night when that anxiety is starting to creep in- another week, more paperwork. Let's go.