And On the Plus SideApril 20, 2008
You know how much I hate to be negative. So I thought I’d mention just a few of the things I like about my job:
1. Kids are funny. Well sometimes. But they at least know absurdity when they see it. They are far more likely than adults to try and find out what the crazy fat boy in year 9 looks like when wearing mascara and lipstick, or to walk up to the head and ask “Who the hell are you?”
2. I enjoy my subject. Bizarrely, I enjoy teaching it more than I ever enjoyed learning it. There’s nothing like having to explain something to get you thinking about it in a very fundamental way.
3. I do get to make a difference. In two of the tough schools mentioned in this blog then, in between all the chaos, I got to teach sixth form classes and roughly once every two years I helped prepare a child for getting into Oxbridge, from schools where most students don’t even consider university. Less dramatically, I can usually see progress being made in my lessons.
4. I get to think about philosophy, psychology, history, politics and ethics on a daily basis. I enjoy that sort of thing. A teacher who understands nothing of justice, virtue, the mind, social class, social change and human nature will get very little out of the profession. Except promotion to SMT, of course.
5. I’ve made lots of friends in teaching. Well at least three.
6. Most of the time I’m in charge. It’s great bossing people around. Anybody who says it isn’t is a liar.
7. I never have any shortage of people to tell me if my shirt’s untucked; if my flies are undone; if my hair’s a mess, or if I smell.
8. Whenever anybody claims that children (and by extension all people) are basically good, I get to look at them with a sense of pity and the warm smug satisfaction of knowing that, whatever illusions I hold about the world, at least I will never say anything as stupid as that.
9. It is a genuinely satisfying experience to see somebody learn something particularly if they thought they couldn’t.
10. The holidays.