It seems that the most recent ‘Secret Teacher’ article has caused some unrest among teachers once again. It’s no secret that these columns irk me… infact since the ‘Pupils are forcefed maths they’ll never use’ debacle I have tried to avoid it entirely and combatted it with tweets and blog posts with #loveteaching. There are those occasional articles that grab the attention of the masses though, and I find it hard to avoid clicking to know what all the fuss is about… This was one of them. As usual, I wish I hadn’t read it.
So the summer holidays started 2 weeks ago and I have been ‘working’.
To start with I have been catching up on the to be read pile that I started in September (these are all mostly education books) and listening to podcasts that are truly blowing my mind (Mr Barton, I am looking at you!)
I have decided to change up one of my display boards to something more useful for my first ever Year 11 class in September – I spent a whole day printing and laminating these new posters while binge watching Mad Men and I have no regrets about it.
To prepare for that new Year 11 class I have been completing GCSE papers for the new 9-1 specification to get myself ready to be the best teacher I can be for them in September.
To prepare for my first year teaching A Level Mechanics, I have bought a text book and a beautiful sparkly notebook to start ‘re-learning’ it all. The last time I ever studied mechanics was for my OWN A Level, so without this I will not be the best teacher I can be for my Year 12 class either.
To a lot of you, this may seem like a lot of work. You may think I’m in danger of burning out and I am pushing myself too hard. But this is not work for me. I am a mathematican – I remember saying to a friend at university “If someone could pay me to do maths questions all day, I’d be so happy.” This is essentially what I am doing this summer – someone is paying me a wage to stay at home (in my pyjamas if I like) doing maths for as long as I like. Or to laminate things, which I find mesmerising and oddly relaxing…
I have also had something that the kids call ‘a life’. I have had lunch and dinner with my friends, been to North Wales to see my family, and went ot a Uni friends’ wedding for the weekend. I have also watched A LOT of Netflix, and spent a lot of time with the pooch. J is now off for 2 weeks, which we are going to spend having nice days out and a weekend in the Lake District.
I am not working too hard… I am working the right amount to keep my brain active and to make myself feel confident in September for all my new challenges.
For those that don’t know my background, I used to work as a Trainee Actuary for a big insurance company. It wore me down to a point of being so poorly I was off work. I decided to make a change, and I began my journey to become a teacher. I haven’t looked back since. I used to dread waking up each morning to have to go to an office, to deal with spreadsheets and economics, looking at life insurance policies or pensions, and doing none of the maths I was promised I would be doing.
Now I wake up every day excited to go into school. I am excited to get to do some maths and to share it with younger generations. I get to spend my days with some of the brightest and most wonderful children, and some of the most supportive and dedicated teachers I have ever known. I share my ideas and thoughts about teaching with them, and with a community of other teachers across the world via Twitter. I cannot imagine doing anything else, and I regularly wonder why I ever thought the office job was for me. I am not only a maths geek, but I am a teaching geek and I am unashamed of that.
So I won’t be told that I cannot enjoy what I do by a teacher that expresses their views anonymously, but also very publically…. I will be doing some ‘work’ this summer – but I’ll be doing it because I really truly enjoy it. If this is not how you feel, then I am more than OK with that. You spend your holiday however you wish. I will be spending my time doing the things that make me happy, and you should do the same. But please do not judge me, or anyone else, for it.