Forget the airy fairy stuff about vocations and doing some good in the world, in my (fairly substantial) experience, people who choose to teach and learn to do it well are bossy, egotistical, opinionated and, by definition, pedantic. They are also passionate; some are passionate about their subject, some are passionate about the world in which we live, some are passionate about the education of young people. Some, myself included, are passionate about all three; I hope that comes across.
More than anything, I want to be the best teacher I can be. I want to be the teacher kids remember, I want to teach the lessons kids talk about five years down the line, I want to influence the way young people think and I do, if I am honest, want them to think like me. Anyone who doesn’t is telling bit fat porkies, I’m sure.
I’ve had a couple of experiences this week that have really touched me. Firstly, a wonderful young lady who was in my class for 5 years (yes, she was so brilliant I made her stay) came to see me to say thank you. She gave me a bottle of wine (good call!) and a little card with a heartfelt message in. It was a lovely gesture because it proved that she is just as nice a person as I believed she was, but more than that, it reinforced my faith in my ability to make a difference. Rebekah, if you’ve found this via Facebook, that’s you. You’re a fabulous, beautiful, clever and astute young woman and you’ve been an absolute pleasure to know. Keep fighting the corner for our language – it needs you and others like you to keep it alive.
This evening it’s been parents’ evening. I’ve taught the bottom set in Year 8 and I didn’t expect a good turn out; I’d actually predicted three ‘customers’ and that was exactly what I got. Two of those asked if I would be teaching their children next year, and were genuinely disappointed that I wasn’t. Whether the kids have appreciated it themselves, these sets of parents have recognised that I’ve tried to make a difference for their children. It’s been tough at times, but I do hope I’ve had some influence on them.
And this is why I don’t say “I teach”, but “I am a teacher.” If I can ignite a spark, fan a flame, keep a fire burning, I will. If I can blow bubbles that keep my students interested and curious, then I’ve been successful. If I can teach more people like Rebekah, I’m more than happy, and if people think I’m good enough to teach their kids, then that’s success enough for me.