I have always been a teacher, the only difference now is it is a bit more formal with a Masters degree and a professional qualification. I have often been asked why I do not blog more about my experiences. The reality is that I work in a really small school in a really small town and my students, like anyone else, are entitled to a little bit of privacy. I also believe that building rapport and respect with students requires a certain amount of trust, and to blog about that seems to violate that trust in my mind.
I will say this though. My current crop of students from Year 7 through to Year 11 are an excellent bunch. Hopefully, I will be able to impart some knowledge and hopefully I will be able to do that in such a way that is engaging and fun.And, just maybe, they might all learn a thing or two that they did not know previously.
In a more general sense, I am going to write about my own struggles and challenges. For example, working in a school that is Smart Board ready and having never been trained on how to use a Smart Board at university.
The school where I work is committed to professional learning and professional development. So, it is quite a relief to know that the professional support needed is just a few steps away with a knowledgeable executive team of many years experience.
Yet, on a personal level, professional learning and development aside, a real challenge in a small school is maintaining high levels of engagement in small classrooms of students with a variety of learning styles. If anyone is looking to find a location where there is little or no pressure on keeping class sizes small, then head to a small rural or remote school. I have classes ranging from 3 students through to 12 students.
The reason I chose to teach was a simple one, and for me it was a real "no-brainer", if you want to make a difference and influence the future, then you teach. I always get a chuckle from the saying "those who can, do; those who can't, teach!" Because any teacher out there worth their salt knows that teaching is a much more difficult skill than just fronting up each day and going through the motions. Quite simply for value to the community teachers are exploited and under-valued in the extreme.
Teachers teach for many reasons, but one thing that I have found common to all that I have met is a belief that it is a noble profession that can facilitate positive changes in the lives of those that we encounter in the classroom. That facilitation might not simply be teaching a young person to do calculus or something about English or history, it might be providing them with the self-belief and confidence in their own ability that they can make a positive contribution to their community or the world.
I am back teaching high school now. However, it is with a great deal of pride that I look back and remember a few past students who have gone on to make very significant and positive contributions to their communities.
I am looking forward to the challenges that will present themselves irrespective of whether they be creating programs of study that are engaging and fun for students who might not have ventured far from where they were born or showing them that there is a whole world beyond Collarenebri that is awaiting their arrival. The good fortune for me is that these students are already recognised and accomplished (having attended the Arias and all -- I have not attended the Arias!). So, the challenges will be for me and not my students.
Teaching is not an easy gig, but it is a worthwhile one, and one that is destined to be rewarding.