At the start of the year I wrote a small and unassuming post entitled '10 things you should do before leaving Teaching'. In the novel 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy', the planet Earth is described as 'harmless'; later revised to 'Mostly harmless'. The post contained no threat and was rewarded with far too many visits for a post of its size and magnitude. But then I noticed how the post was being accessed and I was struck by how many people found their way to it by a Google search. The key searches included 'leaving teaching', 'after teaching','should I leave teaching' and 'leave teaching'.
Teachers were googling for an alternative to teaching.
A bit late; but here's the antidote to their quiet desperation.
10 reasons to stay in Teaching:
1) Challenge. It is the easiest and most complicated process at the same time. Sometimes, words tumble from your mouth.Instructions, explanation, questions are all issued with fluency and purpose. A few seconds later, you stutter and lose all eloquence. Always surprised because of the uncertainty of how easy or complicated it will be. Class after class.
2) Relevance. If you want the quiet life it's not a profession for you. Arguments rage,opinions are exchanged and Governments change almost everything. Education is the 'hottest' ticket in town.Criticise Teachers;admire Teachers,challenge Teachers but no one can say schools and teaching aren't relevant.
3) Tradition. Not a blast from the past or the return of selection. The awareness of the Teachers who have gone before you. They forged their belief with sweat,enthusiasm,laughter and tears. You are in a long line of practitioners who tried, failed, learnt from failure. Many succeeded.
4) Community. Without schools, the fabric of our community wears thin. Schools and Teachers are the agents of promise. They stand for what can be good in the world and for many are the only way out of deprivation and lives unfulfilled.
5) Evolution. Through our mistakes we become better. We evolve. We adapt. In what other career could you reinvent yourself so many times? Every lesson is another opportunity to hit the jackpot.
6) Resilience. What a fight it is. How bloody minded do we need to be? Constantly derided and undermined. Fight against those who would create climates of fear and belittle every achievement. Teachers are still handy in a fight. They look after their own.
7) Celebration. How many days are spoiled by a bad word? A confrontation? If we charted 190 days worth of small victories and what went well we'd be creatures of celebration and not despondency.
8) Colleagues. The wise,fragile,eccentric,driven,faithful,spirited,stupid,committed,belligerent and talented who we take for granted. Raise a glass to those no longer walking with us.
9) Young human beings. Spent most of my career not wanting to appear to be 'in' teaching for the 'kids'. Now, I realise that most of my anecdotes would be dull without them. They infuriate and charm in equal measures. That's all I know.
10) Ownership. Because despite all of the chaos and the change, ticking boxes and schools chasing Ofsted grades: when the door closes; that space belongs to you. It's you, it's whatever you can bring to a room like many other rooms.
Let the words tumble from your mouths. Make them good words. Fill them with intent and endeavour.
If you think you can teach?
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