I came across a post on Facebook today that said words to the effect that no child wants to have a teacher who is miserable every day. So, I thought I might spend a few minutes commenting on that.
When you teach, you give everything of yourself…it’s pure Stanislavsky…you BECOME the character. If you are a primary classroom teacher, you are a carer, a postal worker, a nurse, a counsellor, a mathematics professor, an English literature student, a science lab geek.
You carry your students in your head and your heart
You’re a sports star, a singer, a healer of broken hearts, an audio-visual technician, a graphic designer, an author, a curriculum manager and a master of ceremonies. Most days, you are all of these things.
You carry your students in your head and your heart, not just when they are in front of you, but also the following year, and even decades later. I often wonder where Robbie got to…he with the amazing curly hair, whose self-portrait could rival a Brett Whiteley, or Emily who found me inspiring, even though I would never have known if she hadn't written it down.
I think of J who died in a car accident, miles from home…why was he in that place at that time? I remember Kristian with his slow spreading smile and Casey, whose fine motor skills weren’t much, but who was so articulate about his artwork that you would keep it because of the story behind it!
I think of Ally and Kate who with focussed intent, mastered playing the ukulele…and Xavier, who saw a dragon, when everyone else saw the spatter-painted outline of a leaf.
I talk to teachers from all around the world who are burnt out, broken and demoralised. All of those roles and all of these hearts are a burden to carry. And most teachers do it willingly, for years, or even decades, until they are brought undone by a lack of respect, or a demoralising email from the boss, or a false accusation from a parent, or when they are forced to implement a policy that is out of alignment with their own morality.
Then they show up as miserable…and no one wants them as their teacher.