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Why teaching can still be a POSITIVE career
Primary School Teachers
Member Name: julietta
Primary School Teachers
Date: 31/08/01, updated on 31/08/01 (4355 review reads)
Advantages: Teaching kids (yes), Positively challenging, Worthwhile
Disadvantages: Hard work, Tiring, Can be / is tough!
In the wake of the mass headlines about teacher shortages and the status of the profession, combined with some reader’s recent opinions and comments, I would like to talk some more about the teaching profession.
As a secondary school teacher who is clocking up nearly three years experience, I find it unfortunate that continued negative media coverage and portrayal tends to blight the profession and would like to give my reasons as to why teaching is a positive but can be misconstrued as a negative career. Within this, by nature, I would find it preferable to veer towards the positive wherever possible. This is something that is rarely ever done in the media as too much negativity already shrouds the profession – it sells papers and knocks the stuffing out of people some more.
I also don’t want to talk about governmental issues too much here. Of course the government has knocked education in a thousand places. Of course it has demoralised teachers and wrecked the most common fundamentals of education. Of course the government has work to do in almost all the areas I am going to talk about. That is accepted. Anything else would be an understatement.
A lot of people tend to have a certain feeling about teachers. Let’s face it, whenever you meet a teacher you always have a certain reaction to it – well, I know I do. This is probably because for each one of us we still have a ‘feeling’ buried about teachers in our very own psyche. After all, we are all experts in education and we have all be ‘taught’ something at one point or another. As a secondary school teacher, I still feel that to be in teaching is a privilege, it is only ‘other’ teachers, the media and ‘individuals’ that take away this feeling.
Part of reasons for still seeing teaching in a positive light (against the dark shroud of its problems) probably comes from the fact of having had another &
#8216;profession’ first. Less than five years ago I had what you may call a ‘glamorous’ media and marketing career. I worked in London and New York and despite working hard, compared to teaching I had many perks; money, bonus incentives, travelling, hotels, wining, dining and wooing excursions, etc. This said, marketing bored me and I wanted to have a more meaningful life. I thought about teaching because it was always something I wanted to do in the back of my mind. I already had a good degree so I happily ‘dropped’ out of marketing and went for it. Now, starting my third year of teaching, I’m glad I did. It was the best ‘career’ move I ever made – so why do people, institutions, ‘other’ teachers, etc. tell me I was wrong. When these ‘other’ teachers (normally older teachers) learn that I have already had another career, they tell me I am ‘mad’ to teach. I’d still really like to know ‘why’.
The positive things I feel about teaching are many. Normally it’s about the kids. Maybe it is because I’ve had another career first (or maybe it’s because I’m na´ve as people say – I don’t know), but after I’ve been in a classroom all day I do feel I’ve achieved something – that said and I don’t teach ‘easy’ kids. The feeling I get from teaching is amazing and compared to my last career it is astounding – I really would go that far. Marketing closed me in a tiny world of meaningless rubbish, but with teaching I come home and can look forward instead of backwards – all in all that is the major plus-point for me. All this is the thing that ‘I’ get from teaching that I didn’t get before. I devotedly believe in education – but again society says it’s so wrong to do so.
Below, for ease of reading, I have attempted to list other subject matter rele
vant to teaching and my views towards them. In no particular alphabetical order these are:
OK, so I personally earn less money than I did – or do I? Admittedly, marketing put more money in my bank account than this job but that doesn’t really bother me. The positives and the opportunities in education far outweigh the money for me. Anyway, pro rata I actually earn more money than my salary – as far as I’m concerned I have thirteen weeks holiday and I give myself thirteen weeks holiday – does this happen in other professions – does this actually shift my salary up? I think so.
The conditions in this job are tough and who can deny that? Still, it is a teacher’s decision to either stay in or leave teaching. While the government has blood on its hands here and could do a lot to change schools into better places (and while ‘parents’ could change kids into better kids – yes, I know that will never happen!), other jobs have difficult conditions too. As far as I’m concerned people have a choice to where and with whom they work and instead of complaining about it they should always remember that they have this choice and get on with it as the case may be.
Teachers often complain about doing their ‘admin’, writing reports (of all natures), marking, filling in threshold pay material, etc. saying that all this admin defies the teaching nature of their job. You name it – I’ve heard it. Sorry folks but all jobs are about admin. I know all this stuff takes time but again it is part of the job. I go into school an hour early every morning and stay for another two hours afterwards completing my files, planning, etc. I don’t complain about it, I expect it – I see it as normal for any profession and I just make sure I get it done.
is another area where teachers (particularly older and often more experienced teachers) can tend to ignore the black and white of fact. Education in its wider sense can offer people great career opportunities even if people think differently. Although education in this country remains a fairly un-commercial sector, the experienced teacher has transferable skills that can be transplanted into other areas as the need arises, such as educational management, lecturing, teacher training, local government, advisory, etc. On top of this, the average teacher’s wealth of skills, essentially ‘management’ coupled with strong administrational skills are often highly regarded and sought after by industry at home and abroad. So why is it that teachers often think they have no choices? So why do teachers who desire no future in teaching see no future? Teaching does not doom itself exclusively to teaching but is rather one of the most transferable and beneficial sectors you can work in. Talk about job security!
Ok – I’ve finished this now, but I’ve just tried to sell teaching for right and wrong here. The negativity attached to this profession really does berate me especially because I feel that much of it is ‘shallow’ and very ‘hyped’ negativity. I wish all teachers well and wish that more ‘happiness’ prevailed in the profession. I’d hate to be labelled as a right wing, conformist person for writing this and I am conscious that any illustrated devotion to the job can be misconstrued in times like these.
I am a happy, silly, bubbly, mellow, humanitarian and, in fact, fairly left-wing person, but these are my strict views about teaching and being a teacher. I hope you can empathise with them.
Thanks for reading!
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