Why I teach.

Jennifer Briedis, Matthew Coffey, Catherine Lilley, James Lynch, James McClusky, George Claughan, Kyle Haq, Adam Jonas, Noel ( not that one), Conal Deeney, Tim Lewis, James, Matt, Daniel, Ben, Joy, Jess, Claire, Grace, Imogen, more recently Rachael, Megan, Daniel, Joe, Lucy – Insert your son / daughter’s name here ……… this is why I teach.

Unique, wonderful individuals, I have had the privilege of spending hours with, just us in a classroom together on a crazy, creative journey of self discovery. Hundreds and hundreds of young people, nearly 800 hours a year, what a great job. The question should be ‘Why don’t you teach?’ It’s the best.

There is never a dull moment. The students make my days stimulating and hilarious, heartbreaking, frustrating and joyous, life as a teacher is an hourly rollercoaster of growing relationships, emotions, and ‘oh’ and ‘ah’ moments. To watch them fall in love with a historical character, a period, be enthralled with a new concept, to make life long seekers and learners. To help them overcome a problem To help them realise that I believe in each of them, that they can do anything. Every child needs champions.

Where else could I be paid to discuss the Feudal system, Communism, Elizabeth I, or Early modern felonies, Motte and Bailey castles and Margaret Thatcher. Trying to communicate the League of Nations, or the rise of Hitler in an hour is such a challenge. People write whole books on these topics, but the sheer thrill of helping a pupil understand something new is an unbeatable high. In teaching every day is different, and I learn something new everyday
After 20 years of teaching I am still nervous and excited every September for the new year; every June for the exam paper and every August for results day. Every year teaching The Crusades for example is different, not because the subject is different, but because my class are.

Thinking about it, I didn’t really like school, there were a few teachers who were alright, I mean fairly interesting, maybe two who inspired me, not because they knew the syllabus, but because they took time and energy to know me. I was a very quiet studious 13 year old at a boarding school in Bath. So I expect a part of me is trying to redress that, and make every effort to see that every student has a positive experience of school. My friend Anna says I am a ‘kidult’ – I think this probably helps as well. Teaching isn’t the most glamorous, well paid profession, it’s not something we can switch off at home, the to do list is never ticked off, it’s just longer. Often we are called to be social workers, dieticians, chauffeurs, substitute parents, therapists, artists, disciplinarians, but actually I wouldn’t consider any other job in the world.

By Mrs Rachel March

1 Comment

  1. Marcia McGrail on 15 September 2018 at 8:22 pm

    O, Rachel, what a wonderful piece of prose!..warms the cockles of an old heart to read the enthusiasm that shines out from the page/screen. In an age where cynicism holds sway, your love of your role in your pupils’ lives is a true antidote. Thank you.

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