As I opened my Facebook feed this morning I came across a post I did last year during lockdown: “Ode to a Teacher.”
We are now in lockdown part 2 as the country (Australia) comes to terms with the Delta strain of the Coronavirus. We are about to go into Term 3 year. Our school holiday in New South Wales has been spent in lockdown, with the hope that we will start the term as normal.
This year is a little different for me as my own son is doing his last year at the college where I teach. To be honest, I often treat the kids in my care no differently than I would treat him some days. As they walk into my classes, many of them call me “mum.” I have been teaching for over 25 years at a high school level. I can honestly say that teaching for me is not just about giving the students knowledge.
For so many years I have been hearing how good a teacher has it – how many holidays we have and how the hours are family friendly. Yes, that is true; BUT we also work through our holidays (85 essays for me, plus 2 classes of assessments). I have no intention of getting into the ongoing argument about this. Today, this post is about raising awareness about teachers. Often we are like parents, or brothers and sisters, to the kids who are at risk. We nurse them when they hurt themselves. We council them when they struggle. We coach them in their approach to living a good life. Being a teacher comes with responsibilities – not just to impart knowledge, BUT to play all those roles in our day-to-day interactions with our students.
Would I give up the job? No, not in a million years! For every loss, I have had 100 gains. For every student who might slip through the cracks, I have 100 whom I have saved. This is not an easy gig but you do it for the wins – for the students you know you have saved, for the students who have come out the other side in one piece and have made a better life for themselves. THIS is what teaching is about.
To those kids that call me “Mum” – I am proud to be your “at school” mum.
Look after yourselves teacher friends. Never underestimate how much good you do in this world.