Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Why I became a teacher.

I just read a blog post from a fellow trainee teacher which inspired me to write about my own motivations for going into teaching. Thanks for the inspiration (have a look here)

When I was 8 years old, our family moved 200 miles and I had to start at a new school. I moved into a school which was nearly 5 times bigger than my old one and was plonked into a new class bigger than my old one. I was assigned some 'friends' who would show me around, be nice to me etc by my class teacher, Mrs Bullock.

She was horrible. Two out of the three girls she put me with were nasty bullies.

And needless to say, I had a very unhappy year. My teacher assumed we were all just typically bickering little girls, rather than dealing with the issue and she saw me as the problem because I was the last one into the little friendship group. I remember crying myself to sleep most nights and day dreaming about moving back to my old school where I was happy. In order to deal with me, all 90 children in the year group were mixed up when we moved onto year 5, so that I wouldn't bother those children again.

An extract from the school report she wrote about me. I still can't read it without feeling awful.
After half a term in year 5, the bullying was still going on in the playground. But this time I had a lovely teacher whom I adored and for the first time since moving, she realised what was really going on. I still remember vividly the day she marched me down the corridor to the other year 5 class, pulled the two bullies out and shouted at them. I stood behind her and cried, but cried with happiness that it was finally over, and I loved my teacher ever more for that. The rest of the year was lovely, I made new friends and made much better progress. I still believe to this day that everything I am as a person is because of her.

Much better :)
The next year I remember sitting in an assembly with my new year 6 class. The theme for the assembly was 'Special Things' and it was my old year 5 teacher who stood up to speak. She held up a little green fish - the little green fish that I had bought for her when I went on holiday to Cyprus - and told everyone how special and loved it made her feel when she had been given the present.

I sat there right then and decided that I wanted to be a teacher because if I could be even half the amazing teacher that she was and could make a child any where near as happy as she had made me, then what better way could there be to spend the rest of my life? That desire never left me.

So throughout my secondary schooling, I did work experience in schools whenever I had the chance. When I was at sixth form, I volunteered in my old school one day a week, and after my exams finished I did another full week.

I turned up on the Monday morning of that week, rubbed my hands together and asked "So, what's happening this morning?". The teacher I was working with then told me that over the weekend, a girl in the year above her class had died and that the headteacher was holding an assembly first thing this morning to tell the school.

This assembly was, without a doubt, the worse experience of my life. As we walked in, the class the girl was in were already sat at the front crying. The school filed in and the news was broken. Many of the other year 5 children cried, some from other years who knew her did too. And then, and I don't think with hindsight this was his best idea, the headteacher started to talk a bit about grief. He began by saying, "now, it's natural when we lose someone we love to miss them very much. Some of you may have already experienced this, you may have lost a granny or a grandad, maybe even a dog or your favourite hamster..." and suddenly, every child in the room which was already tense with emotion, was thinking of someone they had lost. And everyone cried, all 450 children, all the teachers, teaching assistants... everyone. It was horrible. 

We went back to the classroom and the children finished off some art work. At break time we sent them all out as usual, but three children from the bereft year 5 class came to speak to myself and the teaching assistant to ask if they could go into the stock cupboard and get some paper and card to make a 'memory book' for the girls family. They all had so many ideas and were so positive about remembering the good things about her rather than the tragedy, and I sat with them for the rest of the day printing photos, sticking in things other children wrote, helping them with drawings and putting the book together. Their attitude was truly inspiring, they were so positive and uplifting whilst the grown ups were sat in the staff room crying over sweet tea. I really felt then that not only do I have so much to give to children, but they have so much to give to me! Children kick grown ups asses so so often, if we can be a bit more like then life would be so so much better.

That day I went home and filled in my university application.

And here I am, four years later, with my own class waiting for me in September. Is it any wonder I can't wait? :)


Missy said...

I have to say without a word of a lie, this post brought me to tears. I felt so sad erading that horrid teachers report. Whenever I write reports I try to make them so positive and word them in a way in which things sound positive. To go into deatail is just so unprofessional. I too think kids know better than adults. I have had great bonds with all my class and feel you have to give the kids the kids a sense of who you are. I will share news just as much as they do. It's a hard, stressful job but when my kids smile it makes it all worth it. Good luck!!

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