I may be relatively new to this teaching lark, but I have to admit that the negativity surrounding the profession at the moment can get me down. No more so than when reading the Guardian’s Secret Teacher article from 2 weeks ago. Written by a maths teacher, the article berated the maths curriculum and suggested we only teach maths for its utility, not its beauty or for sheer curiosity’s sake. Safe to say it riled quite a few mathematicians in the teaching community… But for myself and @MissBLilley it did more than that. It added to the stream of negativity we are becoming accustomed to, so we decided that we were going to encourage people to talk about the positives in teaching… #loveteaching was born!
Beth wrote the first blog on the topic here, & has included some others since then as guest blogs… Here’s mine to add to the mix:
I won’t lie, the NQT year is tough. But I love my job.
I love that every day I get to share my love for my subject with students. Whether they agree with me or not, I get to spend my day talking about the subject I love and trying to convince them that it’s the best. For those that are almost on the same wavelength as me, it makes my geeking out over Pythagoras seem a little less embarrassing… (Who am I kidding? I’m a geek and proud!)
I love that sometimes they get as invested in a topic as me; they beg for more time on an activity, or they give the most wonderful explanation to a peer, or when they know the answer so much they don’t just put their hand up they almost stand up to prove it!
I love that there are students who have struggled with maths previously, be it last year or just last week, and that I have the power to change that. I love that I do change that and that parents email me to let me know. I love that I can see that for myself in a lesson, and hear the “oooh!” when it all just clicks into place.
I love that every day I get to share a small part of my day with some amazing young people. They all have wonderful personality and it is a privilege to get to know each one… OK, so they like to take the mick out of my slightly scouse accent, but they let me get my kicks by making fun of them saying “one t’ t” in stead of “one to two”… or make me smile when marking what feels like my 500th book with messages like “Please put shiny stickers here!” or writing index laws as “owt to the power of nowt = 1”.
I love that as they leave, they say “thank you for a good lesson” (even if it wasn’t, sometimes!) and wish me a good day. I love that they say “Hi Miss!” with a smile when they see me in the corridor.
I love that they want to tell me about their days, their weekends, their hobbies… They they feel comfortable enough in my lessons to want to sing Christmas songs in October (?!), or to ask me if I’ve managed to get to Primark for one of those snuggly scarves yet, or to suggest that I watch ‘Stranger Things’ on Netflix because they binge watched it over summer and loved it, or to chat with me before school starts while trying to solve my Rubiks’ Cube…
I love teaching because I work with some of the most talented and dedicated individuals on the planet. I work with them in my own school and my own department, but also across the globe through Twitter. I love the passion teachers have for their profession, and how much we love to share it with one another. I love that we share resources, that we meet up to geek out over pedagogy and look out for each-others’ well-being.
This is what we need to focus on. These little rays of sunshine in our days. Because teaching is hard. There are days when those moments feel very few and very far between. There are days when the demands of marking or the new curriculum or missed deadlines really get you down. But as a profession we need to focus on the good things, those things that make us #loveteaching. If we do that, the hard stuff will seem less so. We’ll be more positive and proactive in finding ways to deal with it all, instead of feeling weighed down. We can put some energy into change, to make the rest of it better too…
As an NQT I think this is an important lesson to learn. I do no want to be part of that report of “1/3 of new teachers quit within 5 years“. I want teaching to be my job forever… Having done something else before this, I can wholeheartedly say that this job is the best in the world… but if I get sucked into the negativity, that may not happen. So this is me taking a stand – I #loveteaching and I’m going to make sure I remember why, every single day.
Please join in the #loveteaching revolution by tweeting using the hashtag (I’m going to make an effort to, daily). You could also write a blog post to tell us your story. @MissBLilley and myself will spread it far and wide to keep the positivity going.