This is a tricky question to concisely answer. My love for teaching did not stem from a desire to do the job; I spent a lot of my childhood wanting to be either a doctor, an artist or an astronaut. I realised in university I wanted to lecture or teach in some capacity, but I didn’t think I was particularly good with children or had the skills to do it. Lecturing it was.
I then moved to Oxford and worked in a bank for a little while. I’ll be honest – I hated it. It paid well and I got to travel with a fancy suit and stay in hotels, but it was just soul destroying. I didn’t realise until I did it how much I was not cut out for a job like that. I started looking for other ones that allowed me to go and see my family for Christmas, as my current position meant that was not a possibility. An opening was available at a local secondary school for a cover supervisor. It was only at the interview I realised how much I wanted the job and enjoyed the school atmosphere.
I got the job and worked doing cover for about three months. I loved it. It was hard at times, and there were some tricky students, but I loved every second. Within the first fortnight I was researching PGCE options, but it wasn’t looking good. I was considering going back to university and self funding a teaching qualification when I was asked to cover maternity for the second in English, teaching English and Film Studies. I jumped at the opportunity, even though I knew it was more because I was cheap than my skill that got me the position. Then a wonderful woman called Eluned worked magic and landed me an interview with School Direct. In return for covering maternity and taking on the extra planning and marking, I would be trained on the job and even sent on subject knowledge lectures to boost my employability and get me some masters credits.
Fast forward three years and I am fully qualified with a TLR for KS3, working in a fabulous school in Wales. I cannot think of a better job to be doing, and this is where my answer to the above question comes in after a rambling life history lesson.
I love teaching because it is different every day. I love watching a child ‘get it’. I love the constant stream of hilarious anecdotes you can share with colleagues. I love the genuine emotion when I hear a colleague talking about a lesson, good or bad. I love creating resources or trying out new ideas and having a conversation about learning with learners. I love honing my craft of teaching every day, using social media to gain new perspectives.
As for being an English teacher? I love the young people who knock on my door half an hour before school starts because they wrote the next chapter of their manuscript, or read a book they cannot wait to talk about. I love making inside jokes from The Hunger Games or Harry Potter and seeing the pride in the quiet kids’ faces that they get it. I love recommending a book to a student and watching them become immersed in it. I love the creativity they show and feel privileged to be in a position to nurture it. I love seeing the pride in a student’s face as they see the progress they have made. I love when my eyes are barely open during a ‘past my bedtime’ marking session and I see a student has spelled a word correctly, or edged into the next level, or just tried their absolute best. I love being someone a student feels comfortable talking to about issues or just about their weekend or hobby. I love sharing my subject with them and watching them laugh at my stupid voices or insane enthusiasm whenever YA books, apostrophes or sentence structures are mentioned.
Yes, the job is tough, the hours are long and the pressures are enormous. There are days I question why I do this. But them I think about everything above. That’s why I do this. Because I love teaching.
Apologies for the rambling answer! What do you love most about teaching? If you are not a teacher, what do you love about your job? Thanks for stopping by!