It is always with a chuckle that I listen to people saying how easy it is to teach and what a cushy gig it is. After all, as a teacher you only really work from 9am through to 3pm, and you get all these holidays as well. The chuckle is that these people have absolutely no idea what it is to be a teacher nor what is involved in getting the "job" done. I always encourage others to pick up the torch of education and come on board and illuminate the lives of our future leaders. My selling point is always, "where else does one get to shape the future of our world?"
Teaching is not a 9am through 3pm gig. It might be, give or take, the time that you are face-to-face with students. But these hours do not include the time one spends preparing lessons, researching material and content, working out ways to engage students, ongoing professional development and learning, behavioural management of students, and after-school activities whether they be staff meetings or sport and homework centre for the students. It really is a case of "only if". Only if teaching was a 9 to 3 gig how nice would that be?
The beauty of teaching for me is a many-faceted thing. There is no denying that there is a lifestyle choice in that I can have a little bit more control of my out of school time. For example, from 8.00 through 16.00 I am pretty much in school for meetings, teaching,and more meetings. However, after those hours if I want to spend time with my wife and son, I can. If I do spend this quality time with them in the afternoon and early evenings, then it is in the full knowledge that any research and lesson planning or other preparation that needs to be done will be done so after that. When one asks around it is probably not going to be all that uncommon to find teachers still putting the polish on lesson plans or detailing with administrative stuff late into the evening.
All that aside, the motivating factor for me to get into formal teaching was a desire to make a difference. I have been in the school that I am in now for a very short period of time, but I already feel that I am starting to make a difference. Over time I am confident that this difference will become substantial. As I said, what other profession gives you the day-in, day-out opportunity to shape the future of the next and succeeding generations. Magic!
Oh well, time to go...there is lesson planning to be done and some polish to be applied based on "things" that have happened today. Always thinking, always adapting, always learning.