Ask a teacher what it’s like being a teacher and their response will say more about the sort of person you are than it will about them.
If they say, “We constantly have to change what we’re doing because of some short-term government directive. The kids are alright, the parents are a nightmare. We may get a lot of holiday, but the rest of the time it’s 15 hour days with lesson planning and homework.” Then you are a mate.
If they say, “It’s such a joy. The kids are a blessing, every day is an adventure. I learn more from them than they learn from me.” Then you are a parent.
Probably something between the two is probably the truth, but it seems to me that teachers have been coming in for a lot of flak recently, what with government ministers claiming they’re under qualified, business leaders criticising a teach-to-test approach, parents complaining about, well everything, and don’t even get me started on Pink Floyd.
I however have a new found respect for teachers, particularly primary teachers, having recently volunteered to help out for a bit at my son’s school. Through their enthusiasm and initiative they organise an experience or “wow” day for the (reception) kids. Everyone dresses up and there are themed activities and games throughout the day. It’s pretty cool and the kids love it. I helped out for a morning. One morning, and I loved the experience, was keen to do it again, but also couldn’t get out of there quick enough.
That’s the thing with kids, they’re ok for a bit, but all day? Five days a week? For 39 weeks? Seriously, what the hell did you do to end up with that deal?
I have thought about being a teacher myself, but always of secondary school, never primary. At that age you have to be nice all the time and I can’t do it. I haven’t really tried, but I’m pretty sure that I can’t.
It’s not the naughty kids, or the loud kids or the aggressive kids that I find difficult. Them I can handle with the usual barely audible threat tactics I use on my own kids, or if all else fails just distract them till the police arrive. It’s the clingy kids I can’t bear, the ones who don’t get the concept of personal space the ones who won’t just leave you alone and get on with it, the ones who grass up their mates and expect you to take their side.
Those kids are why I think teachers are weird. You see these (mostly) women with those kind of kids and they are the epitome of calm. They reply to every Miss, Miss, Miss, with a gentle, “Yes dear” as opposed to a “What the hell do you want now?” They smile benignly at them, maybe even stroke their head utter some a conciliatory, non-committal phrase the UN would be proud of. All the while smiling, eyes glassed over, emotionally inured to the whining tones of small children.
Come to think of it, perhaps primary school teachers should be given drug tests. ….and if they are not on drugs, they should be given some, immediately.
I know a lot of teachers, and on the whole, I quite like them. I just can’t help but question the sanity of anyone who can and would do their job and frankly, I’m not sure I want my kids hanging out with a bunch of nutters.