Teaching is a profession that cops a lot of negativity in the media on and off. Regardless of what some people say, I believe most teachers try to make a difference in the lives of the children in their care, in just about everything they do, all day, every school day of the year. I am guessing that’s accurate of about 99% of teachers. I don’t think many teachers stay in the profession if they have no passion for teaching or for children. It’s really hard work, it would be almost impossible to do if you didn’t have a love for it. I see and hear about teachers who move on every year to places more suited, like to the police force or to a desk job or to retirement.
A lot of teachers and school staff go nameless and faceless even though we spend a huge amount of time with the children in our classes and at our school every week. After the children have survived their first year of school successfully, their parents start slowly dwindling off and we rarely see many of them by the time these children reach the middle and upper primary grades. (Unless of course, in their child’s eye some injustice has been done and the parent comes to the school and threatens and points fingers at teachers and tells them to go to Weight Watchers- but that is another story). Lucky for us, the amount of parents that engage in disrespectful behaviour is probably only 1%. I’m very lucky, I work in a pretty safe and positive environment.
Most parents would not know my name, except maybe if I have had their children in a previous year where I was their child’s classroom teacher. I’m just the art teacher now. I was primary carer for about 125 different students throughout the day today. Even though very few parents of those students would be able to call me by name, they trusted me (and many others) today with the job of keeping their children safe, happy and learning.
The thing is, a lot of us teachers work our arses off for the good of our students, but we do not like to be singled out. We don’t mind small quiet notes or gifts at the end of the year, but parents please thank us quietly, we do not like the limelight. We are a team and often you will see a teacher brush off attention, saying something like “It’s just my job” or “It was a team effort”. We don’t mind if parents don’t all know our names. We don’t even mind parents don’t realise how effective our work is in developing the whole child, all the different parts that perhaps you can’t see changing ever so subtly, and parts you certainly can’t test. That’s ok. We work for the children to grow and learn and develop and gain new passions and confidences and become an older more educated person at the end of our year. I don’t know why we all teach so fantastically and then don’t really advertise the fact, it’s just who we are- we teach because we are passionate about education, not about accolades and applause.
Today all five of my art classes went fantastically. Everyone engaged in the learning and the art was complete expression of self. I know that most of those children gained some insights into themselves, their inner workings and their abilities. I was inspired by the children’s contributions to discussion, their reflections, and the insightful art they created. Some children learnt a lot, some children learnt a little. But all students moved forward. And that is all I want for today.