I have been a teacher for a number of years now and I absolutely love it. This was not always the case. I now teach primary school children (between the ages of 7 and 11) which means that between teaching I get to be a big kid. When I started I taught secondary and college age kids (11 to 18 years old), and while teaching the older kids A levels was fun it was the 14/15 year olds that made me feel sick on the way to work, so much so that I nearly gave up. Primary school kids though are eager to learn (for the most part) and are desperate for the teacher to be impressed with their work. Here are my favourite reasons for being a primary school teacher…
1) science experiments. You are actually teaching them about the world, things that you or I would take for granted amaze them and things that we haven’t even thought about lead them off in new lines of enquiry. Some of the questions they ask are funny too as they don’t just accept things on face value. I was asked the other day why people don’t send parcels in helium packages as it would weigh less and hence be cheaper. I had no real response to that.
2) imagination. Say to the kids to do some free writing and you will be amazed at what you get. We had a theatre group come in and set up a little shop (it was really well done, amazing in fact) with a little old woman in it who told stories. As the children left they we’re given buttons and told to write a story of who they belonged to and how they got lost. We had everything from fairies to robots to dragons to beasts they had made up themselves. It was the most fun I have had marking in forever.
3) bluntness. This could also be called misunderstanding. I shall give you 2 of my favourite examples. The first is bluntness: I ask the child to write about a religious ceremony and for extra marks to compare it to another. He wrote about a wedding and a bar mitzvah. The difference was that in the bar mitzvah “they cut a snip of the dick”. Not in the wedding though. The second is a child who I asked to draw me a medieval room, he came back to me with a basement with a coffin, a werewolf and a giant spider. When I asked him what it was he told me it was his evil room.
4) I get to be a kid. I am a big kid, I love to play, that is all.
Although teaching is hard work with the planning, marking, discipline, long nights, parents, parents evenings, meetings, marking tests, administering tests, preparing for tests, dealing with fights, dealing with outside agencies (social workers and alike), the heartbreak of a kid who isn’t looked after properly at home and the threat of ofsted (school regulatory board). I do love my job. Every now and then you make a difference, that’s what it’s really about.
This fantastic picture was drawn by a 7 year old at my school, inspired by my books. That’s the kind of validation that gets me the most.