The last remaining days of August. That time of year when teachers everywhere become increasingly aware of the impending demise of the long awaited summer holidays. For me, it marks the end to my thoroughly enjoyable annual stint at masquerading as a stay at home mum. Although a part of me desires to cling on to each and every passing moment for fear that the culmination of them results into the abrupt halt of my current leisurely pace of life, the other part of me is filled with excitement.
Each new academic year presents an opportunity to be even better than the one that preceded it. There is every intention within me to be that punctual and organised person who gets the job done, while smiling. I am eager to meet my new set of students who will not know quite what to expect of their new teacher and new surroundings, some will enter the classroom willingly and others will be brought in kicking and screaming (literally), but first days are so memorable. They are the reference point which teachers look back upon as the children begin to blossom and grow throughout the coming weeks and months, and then marvel at how much they have changed at the end of the journey.
I am dreamer, and in some ways a romantic. Yes, I agree, teaching is not a nine-to-five job that you can clock out of and leave at the office. It follows you home and it consumes every part of your life. Evenings are spent planning, prepping, typing and printing away in order to be fully equipped for the day/week ahead, because if there’s one thing that I have learned; it is how much smoother the day flows when everything is primed and ready to go, complete with a back up plan for the back up plan. Once the kids are in bed, hours are spent preparing for lessons and on endless paperwork that never seems to cease and just when you think you’ll be smart and get it done early, something fresh and new is introduced rendering your previous hard work useless. Weekends are spent in much the same way, not allowing for the brain to switch out of teacher mode. A simple trip to the supermarket results in additional shopping bags full of ingredients to make play-dough or a science experiment. Yes, there is a break during the school working day and it is spent sandwich in one hand, keyboard typing with the other in order to submit those plans/minutes/assessments before the 3pm deadline because once the students have gone home (after after-school club/extra curricular activities) there won’t be time to get it done as staff will be attending the professional development/department meeting/parent’s consultation. There is no time to breathe. It is CRAZY. And it is an honour. And I can not imagine myself doing anything else.
Each year presents itself with a new set of students, each one unique and memorable in their own right. I have no idea about the detailed home life of every student and whether they get attention or not, so I had better make sure that they get it with me. I don’t know if these students all have someone who truly believes in them. So I have to believe in them all, and I have to make sure that they know it. I truly believe that teachers are working to assist in raising the next generation of people. I know, it sounds so clichéd but I believe in the power and influence that a good teacher has upon the lives of his/her students. When a child has a good teacher, doesn’t he/she come home emulating their speech and actions, talking about them continuously. Imagine if the teacher wholeheartedly believed in them too and made them feel as though they could achieve whatever they dreamed of. What a personal and special role the teacher has in the lives of their students. How many hundreds of children can be championed and supported during the lifetime of that one teacher who went that extra mile? I want to be that teacher who went that extra mile.
Teaching is an honour. I will wear these dark circles around my eyes like badges of honour, earned through dedicated service to the nation. The start of the new academic year has almost rolled around and I am excited. But of course, first things first, when that September morning dawns upon us, I shall be checking the school calendar looking out and counting down for the next eagerly anticipated holiday.