Teachers sometimes get a bit of a bad press.
Life-ruining, fun-sapping dictators of the classroom who force-feed Shakespeare onto the unwilling – yep, you aren’t always the most popular person when you’re at the front of a classroom.
However, for every day you are the enemy of the kids, there is twice as much time that you are their hero and you will be fondly remembered for the rest of their lives.
Many people often recoiled in horror when I told them my job: ‘Oh, I could never do that!’ they would exclaim with a shudder.
But while the work is full on, the pressure is huge and the abuse can be constant, teaching really is the best job in the world.
In celebration of World Teachers’ Day, here are just 21 reasons why you should give up your career and join the chalkface/interactive whiteboardface without delay.
1. Hanging out with children all day keeps you young and ensures that your vocabulary, fashion and music tastes remain current and relevant. #DownWithDaKidz
2. You make a massive difference in the lives of young people – even when you don’t even realise it. You might not know how many kids have taken your words of wisdom to heart and will go on to repeat them to their own children or even their own classes – but it’s more than you think.
3. You are constantly learning new skills. You came in this job to teach maths, science or English. You now also run clubs, referee sports days, break up fights, do counselling and have learned an impressive array of arts and crafts for those pesky off-timetable days.
4. No day is ever the same. Ever.
5. You build positive relationships with students, colleagues, parents and the wider community.
6. You become a role model. People look to you for advice and guidance and that feels pretty good.
7. The children teach you as much as you teach them. Every teacher has had that moment where an innocent comment from a pupil has seriously hit home and changed their perspective. Also, you now know all the members of One Direction.
8. There is constant laughter. Learning can – and is – fun and that goes for the teacher too. These groups of kids you have grown fond of truly have bants.
9. That moment where a student finally gets it. You’d been hitting a brick wall with this lesson but suddenly that look of realisation dawns on their face and you know you’ve cracked something. You’ve earned that rushed lunchtime sandwich crammed down your throat in between playground duty and chess club.
10. The thank yous mean a lot. The end of year gifts are great (wine, please) – but the cards and verbal gratitude from the young people who you have impacted are just perfect.
11. The parents are pretty sound too. For every one that gives you a hard time and complains about the quantity of training days, there are ten that worship the ground you walk on for going the extra mile for their child.
12. You get to meet colleagues with a passion for teaching equal to yours who will become friends for life – and the staple of your Friday night drinks.
13. Getting to see students ‘make it’ after they leave is a sensational feeling. Knowing that you played a small part in someone achieving or even surpassing their dreams is the ultimate in job satisfaction.
14. The challenge – and success – of getting the kid that hates you to like you. WIN.
15. The sheer chaos of a classroom. Noise, mess, laughter, excitement and pandemonium. What isn’t there to love?
16. Watching friendships blossom between children always warms your heart.
17. Seeing excitement in children thrilled by a topic makes your day worthwhile. If you can blow a mind now and again, you will constantly be a source of interest. In fact, you are the life and soul of the party in the classroom.
18. Seeing a class of faces hanging onto your every word makes your chest swell with pride. Granted, it isn’t always that way (especially when you’re trying to teach fractions) but when you do get that captive audience, you know it’s going to be a lesson you’ll fondly remember.
19. When kids laugh at your jokes – especially the older kids. Making a teenager laugh with you and not at you is NOT EASY. So you live for the moments when you are the king or queen or banter.
20. When your harsher methods pay off. You don’t like giving discipline and you don’t like chucking in extra homework or scrawling red all over coursework – but the kids will eventually understand why you were a bit of an ogre and they will thank you. Which makes it all pay off.
21. Teaching becomes your life – it is not merely a job with nice ‘holidays’ – and you wouldn’t change it for the world.