I have one week of my teaching career left, at least until I get into the profession properly.
What have I learned? First of all, it’s that inspiring people to want to learn is bloody hard work. You have the drifters, the chatterboxes, the nose-pickers, and the chair-throwers (don’t ask), and that’s in a class of eight! I think, and I hope, that I’ve done some good though. The fact that they’ve come back week after week – if their history teacher isn’t stealing them from me – is something I’m proud of. Get this: I also managed to get twenty whole minutes of silence out of them last week! They wrote a timed essay, and the only noise made was the odd question about the work. I was so glad they’d taken it seriously, and my mood was only dampened when I found the work was mostly unfinished, and a bit on the crap side. I’m hoping that exam adrenaline will allow them to pull something out of the bag.
I’ve also seen first-hand what a lot of work it is to be a teacher. I only teach for an hour and a half every week, but I still find myself agonising over lesson plans and marking for hours upon end. You might say that’s because I only have one lesson a week and want to get it right; a real teacher may have slightly lower standards, or even experience economies of scale from repeated lessons. I would tend to disagree with the former though, as particularly at my school I find most teachers are there because they give a damn. They put so much effort in and it’s made me appreciate them even more to have done so myself.
Which makes it all the more sad for me to have learned that two of my favourite teachers (and dare I say… friends) have told me that they’re likely leaving at the end of the year. It’s all quite depressing, as I was hoping they would still be at my school when I returned. But alas, it’s probably not to be – at least there is a silver lining: guaranteed work experience wherever they may be! For one at least, that seems to point abroad…