Why Teach Secondary?

The variety of life....

“Really? Poor you!”; “Oh my goodness, I couldn’t do that!”; “Wow, I don’t know how you do it,” are some popular reactions from people when I say I am a secondary school teacher. I am left thinking that either they have a very low opinion of teenagers these days, or they had a very bad school experience. You can imagine the faces they pull when I say it’s not that bad, and that I actually love it!

In schools, you see it all when it comes to behaviour. You experience the good, the bad and the ugly. And we’ll just focus on the kids’ today!

The kids are what really make the job – you know, the students, teenagers, learners, pupils or whatever you prefer calling them. What other job out there allows you to have regular contact and build relationships with over 200 children each year? When sitting in a classroom, all in uniform, all they have is their personality to shine through. There are shy ones, quiet ones, loud ones, funny ones, polite ones, pleasant and unpleasant ones, sensitive ones, mature ones and most of the time a mixture of many of these.

Not one day is the same as the next. You might teach the same lesson plan various times a week, but each class will learn it differently. There will be classes that you’ll need to explain things more thoroughly, other classes that you’ll need to use more kinaesthetic activities and classes that will demand more of your energy than others. This is all due to the personalities present in that group, and how it will change the dynamics. You will NEVER be bored!

You will like some classes better than others *Gasp*! Yes, I’m sorry but you will. When it comes to the kids, you will inevitably like some more than others. You will have your favourites, the ones you love to teach. You’ll also have the ‘nightmare ones’, who you can’t stand having in the classroom. The whole challenge of the teacher is not to show it – and this is hard! There are, of course, the ones who are so naughty that they drain all your energy, but they actually have a fab personality, a great sense of humour and so much spirit that you can’t help having a great relationship with them. They will be the first names you learn, and the last ones you’ll forget.

Their freshness keeps you young. I’m not saying I’m old, but sometimes it’s hard to believe I’m double their age in the sense that you still laugh at an accidental fart or you’re not scared to make a fool out of yourself sometimes. When planning lessons, you’re always thinking “What will draw teenagers’ attention to this?” or “What can help them remember this?”, which usually means I will be scouring through celebrity gossip sites, or looking at the music charts or even watching funny videos on YouTube thinking “How can I use this?”. It keeps you ‘in the know’ (although sometimes you do come across things you wish you didn’t know…). And when they get too old for all this, the famous “too cool for school”, they leave and a new batch of bright-eyed young’uns comes along… It’s like I never aged at all!

There are, of course, many other reasons. But I just wanted to make a good case for the kids, the teenagers. They are not all the selfish and rude trouble-makers that make the headlines. There will be bad days, but there will be many more great days when you will laugh so much you might shed a little tear. You’ll always have something to tell the family and friends, too!

This is a re-blog post originally posted by Camila Piombini and published with kind permission.

The original post can be found here.

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About UKEdChat Editorial 3187 Articles
The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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