By: Blonde Two
Today is my last day of teaching for a wee while. I have saved enough during the last seven months to earn myself a bit of time to do some writing, become a social media mogul and generally be Blonde.
It is likely that I will find myself back in the classroom at some point (but possible that I will not). Those of you who have been around for a while will remember that last time I left, I wasn’t too happy about the situation, I felt dejected, rejected and … quite frankly … ejected! This time I am quite excited, who knows what might be around the corner! I have been thinking about what I will and will not miss:
- Lesson observations. I have been on this planet a while, have (very) successfully raised three children and have been teaching with excellent results for nearly ten years. I do not need somebody to come into my classroom and tell me that today my lesson did or did not go well; I form my own judgements about this all of the time and am quite adept at putting the matter straight when necessary.
- Data. There is no excuse for the amount of weight that this government puts on exam data. I don’t blame head teachers here at all. Teachers have seen sex education, careers education, sport and outdoor education all downgraded to the extent that schools can’t afford to spend time or money on them. We are never going to get a nation of young people who all pass their exams, but wouldn’t it be great to find ourselves with a bunch who are well rounded, fit and healthy, have life goals to work towards and know how to put a condom on?
- Workload. It is difficult to explain this one to anyone who isn’t a teacher. On paper our hours and holidays look great. If you could look closer though, in each and every school you would see a community who has always worked hard but is now sinking to its knees (and having to take extended time off) with stress and exhaustion. This is an unsustainable situation, teachers are leaving, pupil numbers are on the up again. I don’t need my maths A Level to work that equation out.
- Colleagues. Some of the best people in the world are teachers and I will miss those that I know; but I say this with a caveat. I will miss my colleagues, but these days even if I am in school I don’t see them very much. We are all too busy and too worried to find time to sit talk to each other, share ideas or even sometimes offer support.
- TEENAGERS. I feel that the capital letters are justified here. There is no doubt about it, teenagers get a bad press; but spend your days with them and you will find that teenagers are actually caring, compassionate, deep thinking and very, very funny. Their capacity for original thought sometimes overwhelms me and I am often humbled by the amount I can learn from them.
So in three years time, if I am a successful author and not a teacher, ask me what I miss and I will tell you. It will be the teenagers, their zest for life and their capacity to always surprise me.
Which is probably why I plan for outdoor education to remain a big part of my life.