Newest Review: ... I have been teaching in a primary school for 3 years now and absolutely love it. I have done 1 year in Year 1 and 2 years in Year 2. ... more
A Favourite thing: my mum the teacher
Primary School Teachers
Member Name: beckstrous
Primary School Teachers
Date: 11/07/02, updated on 11/07/02 (887 review reads)
Advantages: A genuinely rewarding, important job
Disadvantages: Underpaid and sometimes undervalued
In 1994 I went to my mum's graduation ceremony at the Barbican in London. I don't suppose many children get to see their parents graduate from university, so it was a very special day and I do feel quite privileged.
My mum is a teacher, you see. She qualified when she was 42. She proved that if you work hard and follow your dreams you do get somewhere, and it's never too late to give something a go. I hope that her story is of inspiration to someone. I also hope it can be of some use even though I have no direct experience of teaching myself.
Mum left school at sixteen without any O Levels. I think she may have been a bit of a wild child - though that's something she stringently denies.
She married my dad 26 or 27 years ago, something like that. They were hippy parents, and very good ones. She always seemed to be interested in people's welfare and wellbeing, and when my sister and I were at school she had a part-time job working in a day centre for people with Alzheimer's Disease. She also worked with special needs children at some point, and she was always brilliant with kids.
Mum decided to train as a teacher when she was in her thirties. She had no qualifications, of course - but she must have known she could do it. They say you're born into teaching and I think they're right because my mum is a natural.
The road towards becoming a teacher was a long and hard one, beginning with night classes at the local college. I remember swathes and swathes of paper, exams and a lot of studying in the lounge as she embarked on an Access course, an intensive two-year preparation for a degree designed with people like mum in mind. I think she may also have taken a couple of O levels before this course - there seemed to be so much studying that I can't really remember!
Somehow she still managed to be a good mum. A brilliant mum. I think it must be another thing at which she is a natural. Sh
e would help my sister and I with schoolwork, problems with friends, problems with teachers - everything that mothers do. Eventually she enrolled at Kingston University to do a BEd degree. There were a few other mature students there, too, and I remember meeting quite a few of them.
With the degree came teaching practice (I did say it was a long road!) and eventually my mum got a job at a primary school. She has been there ever since and has been headhunted for senior positions by several different schools in the area.
So what's it like? Well, some of the popular views about teaching are completely nonsensical. People ramble on about long holidays, shorter hours and the like - but I can assure you that half term can be manic, with lesson plans spread out on the table and lots of marking to be done - and teachers most certainly do not work 9 to 3, and probably not even 9 to 5 in many cases!
The job isn't always easy either. Sometimes my mum would come home with teethmarks in her hand, lovingly dispatched by a difficult child. Sometimes she would have to resolve confrontations with parents. Sometimes it would be a (very) late night after a staff meeting or a parents' evening. Last night she got in at 10:30pm after the school's production of "Annie", and she'll be there tonight and tomorrow as well.
Teachers are not "just" teachers. They sometimes also have to be counsellors, mediators, surrogate parents, administrators, diplomats, managers and several other things, all at the same time. It is one of the most demanding - and important - careers that I can think of. I think teachers are underrated and underpaid, especially when you think of the enormous salaries that some sportsmen can demand these days (and yes, I am a football fan).
I've mentioned some of the pitfalls of teaching - but what about the good bits? There must be something in the job if it manages to attract talente
d, dedicated people to work on what most would consider to be a pretty low starting salary.
Well, you only have to see some of the letters and cards my mum gets throughout the school year to understand that the job does have its reward. Parents often write to her telling her how their difficult, awkward child has been transformed, and children themselves develop as people while they are in her class (some of them really do blossom) and are often quite sad to leave. As my mum's pupils have progressed through the school I'm sure their development has made her proud, and some of the little end-of-term thankyou cards they've made her really are quite touching. Children can be extremely unpredictable to work with but also immensely rewarding. As a teacher she has a huge responsibility: along with her colleagues, she is helping to shape a future generation. They say you never forget a good teacher and that's perfectly true. I remember two or three of my favourite teachers from over fifteen years ago, and I'd like to think that mum will be thought of in the same light when her charges grow up themselves.
It's not a job I could do; I think my mother is an inspiration. She has supported my aunt, who also decided to train to be a teacher after having children of her own. She is at Kingston University herself now, in fact.
Perhaps you are thinking about a career in teaching. Perhaps you've been in the world of work for a while, or maybe you're a parent yourself. If you have any doubts about whether someone with no qualifications can train to work in one of the most important fields there are then maybe you can look at the example my mum set and take heart. It's a challenging and diverse career, but if it's your dream then you should follow it, just like mum did.
"Jill Murphy asked me to write about one of my favourite things to help her celebrate her fourth anniversary of cancer-free living and
to remind ourselves of all the nice things in the world. It takes more muscles to make a frown than a smile you know. If you'd like to join in, whether you've only just joined dooyoo, or you've been here ages, you're more than welcome. Just write about one of YOUR favourite things, make your title "A Favourite Thing: [your choice]" and include this paragraph at the foot of your opinion. And post before Friday, 9th August."
More reviews in the field of Profession / Occupation
- "On Yer Bike!"
- Knitty Noras and Baby Walkers
- adult nursing in a students eyes
- Could you do it?
- I was an accidental DJ
- Dreadful course materials, Zero support, but happy to take your cash!
- Not for everyone
- There's always going to be a need for carers
- You're either a natural with customers or you aren't, its not something you can ...
- Looking into doing Community Care Work? Read this first!