Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Confessions of a Secret Teacher- I didn’t enter teaching to improve students’ lives

     No, the teacher described above is no one I know. To admit to this would never get you a teaching job. I think the teacher in the headline if this is not a spoof from the Onion Newspaper, is really someone that is collecting realizing teaching is much more than collecting a paycheck. You need to have a cause and a purpose to be an effective teacher and even though he/she might have the skill to be a writer or editor as this language arts teacher is, the teacher described would be spotted a mile away by colleagues and administration that would expect more. Saying that, the Secret Teacher does make valid points on testing, dealing with career expectations and burnout.

Secret Teacher: I didn’t enter teaching to improve students’ lives. Not wanting to put students’ life chances before my sanity doesn’t make me a bad teacher. I never wanted to be a social activist, I just wanted to teach English. Now read the rest of the story.
‘Two years in, and I’m throwing in the towel to become part of the growing statistic of dropouts. You see, I never wanted to be a social activist. I just wanted to teach English.’
It may sound callous, but I did not enter the teaching profession to improve the lives of children. That’s not to say I don’t want to or think that teaching can, but my daily slog of teaching, planning, marking, monitoring and emailing, is not motivated by a burning desire for social change. This is despite the constant pressure from above to care more for the job and the lives of my students than my own sanity.
I came into teaching for three reasons: to do something related to my degree (I studied literature at university, so becoming an English teacher seemed like a logical career decision); to avoid becoming another jobless graduate statistic; and to do something challenging and not office based. A couple of years into the job, I can already spot my own naiveties with regards to my decision, but nevertheless, I stand by the fact that my decision was not motivated by the desire to “improve the chances of young people” or “foster a love of learning” in the pimply, pubescent, moody creatures we call teenagers.

However, the crux of the issue is this: teachers are working more hours than ever before, dealing with more difficult students and parents than ever before, and are under more stress than ever before – all under the guise that we don’t mind because we’ll do anything to improve the life chances of our students. But that’s a fallacy for me – and I am sure others too. I’m not a superhero, I just want to make a living doing something I like, with enough time and money left over to enjoy myself at the end of it.
Earlier this year, I was faced with a nightmare student, the sort who makes your heart race at 100 miles per hour as they enter the room and you realise that, to your utter dismay, they aren’t absent after all. After declaring that my lesson and decision to punish his poor behaviour was a “piss take”, he proceeded to throw things across the room and disrupt the entire lesson until he was eventually removed by senior management.
To read the rest of the article, click the link below.
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