I am a teacher.
And on most days I’d like to think I’m a pretty good one. I love my kids. I have a solid understanding of the curriculum. And a fairly decent understanding of how to best implement it. Do I know it all? Do any of us? Teaching is a constantly changing, fluid profession. I say that I have a solid understanding of the curriculum….a curriculum, that is, that has been changed constantly over the last few years and as a primary teacher, I don’t need to understand just one subject area, but ALL. Just when I get a handle on one, the next one is rolled out and my confidence, learning and trust in my ability to do the best job I can, is rocked once again. I love my job, I love my profession, I am passionate about the learning of my students. I am passionate about their little souls, personalities, social skills, emotions….the list goes on.
But I am also human.
And this week, on ABC’s The Drum, someone stood up for me. Jane Caro, who I have always loved for her disregard of others opinions of her and ability to speak exactly what she thinks, sat on a panel and stood up for the wellbeing and human traits of teachers all over Australia.
I have shit days. I have days when I have been up all night with a vomitting 7 year old. I have days when I have been coping with the death of a family member, a colleague or even a student. I have days where I have fought with my husband, my daughter, my self…..and I have sat amongst my class of 5 year olds and pretended that all is ok. I have given it my all. Because in a job like mine, your home life, your emotions, your frustrations and your grief cannot cross over into your classroom.
My job is too important.
Was my teaching as authentic and effective as it could have been on these days? No.
Was my temper a bit shorter, my patience a bit worn or my passion a bit lost? Yes.
Am I still a great teacher? I believe so.
I am all for the building of the teaching profession. Teaching standards….bring it on. I am yet to find a teacher who does not want to build their own capacity and be the absolute best they can possibly be. I am yet to find a teacher who is not passionate about the students that they teach and their academic, emotional and social outcomes.
But if society keeps blaming us, if you keep tearing us down, if you keep telling us what a terrible job we are doing, then, as Jane Caro stated in her impulsive, yet much needed tirade, you will “systematically destroy the morale of the teaching profession.”
I am a teacher and I am passionate about your child. I love my job. I love education. I love watching a child come in at the end of January knowing nothing and leave by December being able to read and write.
But I am also human and I have bad days, weeks….sometimes even months.
So stop judging, condemning, blaming…..and support me.
For my job is the most important.
I am a teacher.