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How do you know that teaching is right for you?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by purple91, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. purple91

    purple91 New commenter

    (I've also posted a similar version in the Careers section, but as I'm specifically considering primary I thought it would be good to post it here too.)
    Do you believe 'you just know'?
    I've been looking into teaching for a while and hoped that gaining some experience would confirm either my love or hate for the profession. It didn't. I had a few inspiring moments when I helped a student understand something they were struggling with, but equally there were moments when I felt bored whilst observing.
    I know that it's different for everyone, but I guess what i'm asking is do you think people are 'born teachers' or is it something that can be worked at? I wouldn't want to enter the profession and become a bored and lackluster 'Grantly Budgeon' type: it wouldn't be fair on me or the students.

  2. greta444

    greta444 New commenter

    Observing IS boring. Don't put too much emphasis on that. Do you really really want to help children learn? That is the question.
  3. Im not sure your 'born to teach' - it took me a while to feel 'at home' in the classroom because there was so much to get my head around - but I have grown to really love the profession.
    I love not only teaching (as in, imparting knowledge) but working with children who make every day a giggle. I love working as part of a team who are all striving for the same goal. I love putting time and energy into things that make lifelong memories for the children - those wow lessons, plays, fairs, trips etc. I love that teaching is never 'stale' and you can always do better. I love being in control of my classroom and having the power to make my own decisions, change things to work better, etc. I love being organised...
    ...and I love stationary!
  4. Observing is only as boring as you make it (although it can depend on the class teacher's expectations too).
    On my observations I helped out in every lesson, went round chatting to the students and 'got right in there'. I ended up being an additional pair of hands in the classroom and the 6 different teachers that I spent different days with all appeared grateful. I must admit the first day I felt quite awkward for the first hour as I didn't feel overly welcome, but once the teacher saw I was willing to help and wasn't going to get under their feet they were warmer to me!
    On Friday I went in again to a different year group and just straight away helped out wherever I could. Well, hopefully the class teacher saw it as help rather than me just jumping in headfirst!
  5. WolfPaul

    WolfPaul New commenter

    Do you mean stationery? [​IMG]
  6. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I think you might be talking about a different sort of observation.

    Observation days before your PGCE course are ones where you can get stuck in and help out. But even then we have secondary PrePGCE students bored brainless in a year 2 classroom.

    Observing as in observing other people's lessons are boring. I always struggle not to yawn by the end of most. And I don't get to become another pair of hands as I am observing how that teacher manages that class, not helping them out.

    I know teaching is right for me because I cannot imagine doing anything else. Where else would you get to laugh out loud several times a day (and try your best not too even more times a day!)? Where else do you get to spend all day with children while appearing to be really grown up? Where else do you get to know stuff you never had a clue about before (ancient Greek myths for me)? Where else can you go to work with a smile on your face (almost) every day? Where else do you get to go to the theatre/Albert Hall/theme park/museum/art gallery all for free? Where else do you get to see another person blossom and flourish under your care?

    Even at the end of naff days spent with stroppy 'we're too old for primary, you can't tell us anything any more' year 6s, I'd still not swap jobs for all the tea in China!
  7. purple91

    purple91 New commenter

    Thanks for all the responses so far!
    Thinking about it, the difference between the times I loved it and the times I was bored was getting the chance to be involved. With the teachers that let me move around the groups I felt much more engaged. Perhaps getting more experience in a different school will help me decide more?
    However, if I disregard my boredom during some observations due to my lack of involvement, I'm still concerned that I don't have a massive love for children. I don't mean that to sound as harsh as it does: I enjoy working with children and the opportunity to make a small difference in their lives. I even spend time thinking up ideas for enjoyable lessons and activities! However, if I loved children then surely I would have considered teaching at an earlier age? I guess I just don't have many people to compare myself against, with the only other potential teacher I know is my friend who has wanted to be a teacher since he was at school. Do you think that the 'best' teachers are the ones who have always known that it was what they wanted to do?

  8. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    No, not at all. Or at least I sincerely hope not, because I never wanted to be a teacher. I only did a PGCE to stay at university another year.

    However with all your doubts, I think you might not be totally right for teaching just now. Only you can decide however.
  9. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    Not that I would consider myself "the best teacher" ( although I am pretty good[​IMG]) but I didn't even consider training to be a teacher until well into my 40's. I certainly didn't want to be a teacher before then. It was only when I began helping in my own children's school that I realised I actually enjoyed it!
  10. Moisy

    Moisy New commenter

    I think it is different for different people. I knew from the age of 5 that I wanted to be a teacher and I never once changed my mind on that-23 years into the job and I still love being in the class and working with the kids, I still get a kick out of their responses and seeing how much they have improved at the end of the year.
    People often say to me that I was born to teach, in fact my Head has said that to me, which was a lovely thing to hear-I can't imagine doing anything else, even in the blackest moments. But I don't think that is the same for everyone, nor does it need to be. I do think you can come to love it if you don't already.
  11. I do think you have to have some sort of love and passion for the job just to get through the mountains and mountains of paperwork and keep going! In many schools you need to be incredibly resilient to keep going despite SMT constantly telling you nothing is ever good enough.
  12. Sillow

    Sillow Senior commenter

    I think I was destined to be a teacher: my mum and grandmother were teachers and I used to play at being a teacher a lot when I was younger. That's not to say I was a natural! It's taking lots of learning, even two years in. But I love it, I can't imagine doing anything else!
  13. I've loved junior school children since I was a teenager - I wanted to go back and do my junior school years again, as I had so many problems at the time!! But my numeracy was so bad that I never thought I'd make it... finally 10 years after university I retook my maths, got my C and am now trying harder than ever to get onto teacher training!!
    I just love communicating with children and explaining things to them, and listening to their perspectives, and giving them the chance and the opportunity that my ogre of a headmistress never gave me when I was their age!! :)
  14. I came into teaching later on in life, and found I absolutely loved it. It was difficult at first but once I had my own class and felt more confident I was very pleased that I had made the decision. I would say though, that if you are having doubts, you need to really consider if it is what you want to do as it is definitely a job that takes up a huge amount of your time and energy, and if you are not really sure its for you, then I would certainly think long and hard about it. Good luck!
  15. Faheey

    Faheey New commenter

    Don't be too concerned that you don't always like children. Teachers are made up of all sorts - a common factor is that they're motivated to help children do their best and that they believe they can help make a difference to the wee group of individuals in front of them each year to help them on their way. You care about your whole class, its just some can get on your nerves more than others.
  16. purple91

    purple91 New commenter

    Thanks once again for all of the replies so far! It's given me a lot to think about :)
    Both sides of the argument have been equally helpful; in fact, some of the posters suggesting it might not be right for me has actually increased my interest in teaching further (that's not meant negatively to anyone, but sometimes considering the other side of a situation can make you better understand your own opinion). I'm only in my first year of uni now, so I've still got plenty of time to consider, and i'm planning to get some long term experience in a primary next year.
    Any more replies would still be greatly appreciated! x

  17. Yawn. I often used to be bored just sitting at the back of the room watching, too. I think it took me a while - well into my PGCE - to realise that all schools are not made equal, not all schools are cuddly and fluffy and that basically they are all unique and so is the mix of characters working there, so it's going to be variable how well you 'slot in'. I had a PGCE placement in an 'outstanding' school and hated every single bloody minute of it! Urgh! To this day, I am absolutely baffled as to why it was held in such high regard. Lessons were boring (e.g. Maths = working through textbooks) and teachers had no interest whatsoever in the stuff I think is important, like educating the 'whole child', developing their emotional intelligence, encouraging responsible citizenship, etc. On the other hand, I have worked and been on placements in schools that officially were not nearly as good as this one and loved them: cohesive, forward-thinking staff, holistic, caring approaches, exciting lessons that got the chn involved as independent learners... I think it's good to realise this asap! You might be bored in this classroom because your developing style and that of this teacher don't quite match and that's fine. Say you want to see a broad range of ages and ask to spend time in different classrooms. You might get to see an absolutely amazing teacher whose approach will shape your developing philosophy and whose ideas you will find yourself pilfering for years to come! [​IMG]

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