Learning is....
Planting a seed in our brain... learning to water, nurture and grow it.... so we can live on the fruit of our learning and plant more seeds.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

World Teachers' Day - Why I am a teacher.

Today is World Teachers' Day.  Normally I used this blog as my reflection of what I do in the classroom.  But today I would like to reflect on teaching as a profession and why I choose to be a teacher and continue to choose to be a teacher despite the GERM infecting our quality public education system.

The launch of World Teachers' Day in Gisborne 5th October 2013.
The launch of a year of promoting teaching as a profession and quality public education (that hasn't been affected by GERM) happened this morning on the beach in Gisborne, on the east coast of the North Island in New Zealand, with launches to happen, as October 5th dawns around the world, in Paris and New York as well.

A teacher friend yesterday posted on Facebook to have a Happy Teachers' Day (Hallmark: cue new card/money making opportunity) and try not to mark anything.

That got me thinking, because between two conferences and car maintenance and a planning day with my fellow staff members, I don't have many opportunities to either relax and recharge or get organised in my class during this term break for the upcoming term four.  So instead of marking or photocopying or whatever, I am choosing to blog about why I am a teacher.

I decided to become a teacher when I was about 15 or 16.  Before that, in my very formative years, I had ideas of being Wonder Woman, a doctor or a fireman (gender issues weren't high in my thoughts then), or even the fifth member of ABBA!!!  Later on as I left primary school and was making my subject choices for high school, being a lawyer was my goal.  Thankfully I changed my mind from that, decided that being a teacher was a much better option, and here follows the list of why:
  • I like children.  They are usually a lot of fun to hang out with.  They are funny and get pleasure out of the most unexpected things.
  • I never wanted to fully grow up.  I reckon the best teachers are the ones that still have something childlike about them.  We don't all have the same childlike 'thing' as each other, because we are all individuals after all, and if we all have different childlike qualities it gives each teacher that 'thing' that will connect with the individual children we teach who need that 'thing'.
  • I love learning.  Teachers don't know everything - yet.  Sometimes we decide to teach a unit we know stuff all about, so it sends us off on our own learning, doing research.  Sometimes we learn beside the children, discover new things as they are discovering.  Even with units that I have done for years, like my Anzac Day unit, I learn something new each and every year.
  • I love being creative.  It's more that doing things like art or music or dance or drama.  You can be creative with how you display things in the class.  You can be creative with the activities the children do before, during and after their reading.  You can be creative with ICT.  You can even be creative in mathematics!!  Listening to Prof Yong Zhao this week reinforced my belief that teachers are creative people.
  • I love seeing the children get that "a-ha" moment and to celebrate their progress.  For most children they make good, steady progress and that gives me a great sense of achievement.  For some others a switch is flicked because things finally click.  Love it.
  • I love introducing ICT into the classroom and seeing how the children take it on board as a learning tool and a way to create new things.
  • I love seeing how the children grow and develop and change.  I'm lucky enough to still be in contact with some previous students or to bump into them when I am out and about and I am in awe of what they have done.  Some have gone to the USA on scholarships for tennis, golf and volleyball.  One has become a radio DJ (apt, as he talked an awful lot).  Some have followed their parents into farming.  Some have become parents.  Some are at university or tech.  Some have represented their province in a variety of sports or joined the National Secondary School Band.  If they have made it through to adulthood in one piece I am extremely proud of them, whatever they have done or where ever they are - once a kid in my class, always one of my kids.
  • I love meeting with other teachers and sharing about what amazing things our children have done, said, learned or created; talking about the challenging children and sharing ideas on how to help them; sharing about the great learning we have, are or are about to do.  Then there is are also the professional, theoretical and industrial discussions we have as well.
So on World Teachers' Day, I want you as a teacher to reflect on why you are a teacher; and if you aren't a teacher, please reflect on your favourite teachers and why they were your favourite teachers.

You know, when I come to think about it, some days being a teacher is like being like Wonder Woman.