To be a teacher is more than the painstakingly tooth-gnashing daily (and, more often, nightly) process of putting together handouts and resources, snipping away at flashcards and creating digital resources for a classroom of diverse and unique learners. It is more than putting on a comfortable yet suitably professional outfit and a pair of comfortable court shoes, optionally dabbing on some make-up and making sure your hair’s in place. Being a teacher is more than being at school an hour before the first bell and most probably leaving an hour after the last. It’s more than going up to class on time and giving the best that you can give to the young minds that depend on you for the education they deserve.
To be a teacher is so much more than managing your class and making sure your kids don’t get themselves into any trouble; monitoring patterns of behaviour and speaking to the kids you see six times a week on a one-to-one basis. It’s more than getting to the bottom of what’s causing that boy to be disruptive or that girl to bully her ex-best friend.
To be a teacher is more than working past your documented hours, staying up late and sometimes putting yourself second in order to give these children the service they deserve.
To be a teacher is all these things. And more.
It is to take an oath; an oath to give each child a chance at their best life, and to make sure that they are loved – because (perhaps) there’s that one boy or girl in class who looks at you and hopes that you believe in him or her; because nobody else does.
To be a teacher is to be insulted; to be told that your job is the easiest on earth, because holidays and 2.30pm. It is to smile and take it; to ignore it.
Because to be a teacher is to love the work you do; it is to be devoted to each child inside your class, and to make sure you are the last one to give up.
It is to teach, but more importantly to educate. To be a teacher is to inspire.