Friday, January 26, 2007

Birthday fives

Top five things that make me want to quit teaching

1) Lying awake at night worrying about pass rates, retention rates, targets and so on
2) The fear that I may be complicit in the creation of a generation of over-dependent, manipulative kids who are so used to people bailing them out of the consequences of their actions that the country will grind to a halt once they are running it
3) Articles in the press that take the form of an external expert (e.g. a Shakespearean Act-tor or a famous TV naturalist) talking about how wonderful it is to go into the classroom and 'show the kids what the subject is really about, rather than the boring stuff the teachers do with them'
4) Parents who collude with or approve of absence or bad behaviour
5) Marking coursework

Top five reasons I love teaching

1) Moments when students learn something and they enjoy it so much they forget it's uncool
2) Telling parents how well their child is doing and watching them both swell with pride
3) The wit, wisdom and compassion of teenagers, especially when it comes from unexpected quarters at unexpected times
4) The chance to be enthusiastic to a captive audience on a daily basis and get paid for it
5) The glow of smugness you get at University reunions, when you realise that although everyone else in the room earns three times your salary, they know they could never do your job and their career, in comparison to yours, is meaningless and trite

Five things I wish I'd never said to a student

1) You just can't be arsed, can you
2) Where's your bloody coursework?
3) If you don't turn that music down you'll end up a sad, lonely old man
4) Your brother would never have done that
5) I promise I'll mark that tonight and give it you back tomorrow

This was meant to go out yesterday on my blogiversary but I had a migraine and the computer crashed in sympathy.


Stu Savory said...

May I add a sixth reason to love the job? For over 30 years I've been teaching people (motivated, willing adults) to fly. And am very pleased to see it when several of them turned out to be better pilots than I am :-)

Do you meet ex-pupils who have become rather successful? Does it motivate you too?

lilyofthefield said...

I grant that teaching in an inner-city Hellhole without the missionary zeal to light the darkness of the huddles masses has probably jaundiced my outlook but I left last year when I realised that I really just don't like chav kids.