#blogtober day five is all about ‘education’, which is fitting as education is my job! I’m a primary school teacher, currently teaching Year 5 (9-10 year olds) and honestly, I really really do love my job.
Think you know what it’s like to be a teacher? Here are 9 truths about teaching that might surprise you!
1. Teaching is only about 40% of what we do
Yes – I spend only some of the time actually teaching at work. So, so much of my time is taken up with other things: paper work, planning, marking, more paper work, meetings, courses, phone calls, break duties… the list goes on! My life at work would be so easy if all I had to do was ‘teach’!
2. We’re not just teachers
Teachers wear so many other hats on a daily basis: at work I’m a social worker, counsellor, nurse, mediator, referee, friend, parent, mentor, bouncer and so many other things, to both the children and their parents, and also to colleagues!
3. Paper towels fix EVERYTHING
Yes – genuinely! If there’s a sore knee or a wobbly tooth, every teacher worth their salt knows that a paper towel, preferably a wet one, will fix any ailment. And coupled with a drink of water and removal of a jumper, any child will be as right as rain in no time. (This occasionally bites you on the bum when the wet paper towel suggestion fails to fix projectile vomit…)
4. Teachers have bladders of steel
At some point during teacher training, your bladder becomes accustomed to the strict times that you’re allowed to have a loo break. I won’t need a wee all morning until the second it turns 10.30am and my bladder knows it’s time for a tea and a wee!
5. We don’t get paid for the holidays
Yep, you read that correctly! The assumption is made that because we get 13 weeks holiday a year, we’re paid for it. But this Is Not True! We are only paid for the days we actually work, and then this pay is divided up between 12 months so we get a monthly wage. And a side note on holidays – most of our time off is spent catching up on sleep, planning for the next term and organising our classrooms! Honestly, only half of our time ‘off’ is spent actually ‘off’!
6. We don’t know everything
People, and especially the children in your care, assume that because we teach, we know everything there is to know. There are so many things I know nothing about, and sometimes the kids know more than me. Sometimes they ask questions that I just don’t have the answers to – but everyday’s a school day, so when they ask big questions, we try to find the answers together! Except I’ve learnt that even Google doesn’t have the answer to ‘is there really a God?’ much to the disappointment of my class…
And I’m not ashamed to admit that I had to ask a colleague for a lesson on long division this afternoon, ahead of tomorrow’s maths lesson!
7. We attend so many meetings…
…which could have been an email…!
8. It’s not a 9-3 job!
It’s more like a 7.30am to 6pm working day, with a short break for dinner and to spend time with your own kids, before another few hours of work before you sleep. We’re only paid for the hours that the children are at school, but teaching is a job which takes up most of your waking hours. I’ve got better at the whole work-life balance thing since Squid came along, but I often still tread a very thin line.
9. You never really switch off
Finally, this is the one which will resonate with all teachers. You never, ever truly switch off. My mind is always whirring, thinking of ideas for lessons, things I need to mark or plan. But more than that, it’s consumed with the children. That child who didn’t have any breakfast. The one who was lonely at break time. The kid who lashed out in Science, seemingly for no reason, but you know there definitely will be a reason. The boy whose mum just walked out and the girl who only speaks to her dad via Skype. Yes, we worry about our children, wonder how they’re doing, if they’ve eaten, had a wash or been cuddled that day. Certain children stick with you long after they leave your classroom.
And the kids are why we do it. They’re the ones who brighten our days, even when our own personal lives are difficult, when we’re tired, and down heartened by the newest government initiative.
And anyway, what other job would I get to mummify bananas, sing songs about pogo sticks, laugh about the poo emoji and have my heart swell with pride on a daily basis in?!
Squidmamma xx 🐙
More of me?
Previous #blogtober posts here.