I wanted a job that allowed me to make a difference, do good things and have a big impact on the world. It was a toss up between nursing and teaching, but in the end I decided on teaching and I've never regretted it.
I thought I would get the freedom to use the gifts I'd got. So I did a teaching degree at Cheltenham. In the first lecture of the course the lecturer asked us to all the think of the first negative memory we has about our own time at school. We all had memories of teachers who made us feel small. I had a terrible one: I was five or six years old and I can remember the teacher telling me to walk around every member of the class and show them how awful my work was.
I've never forgotten it and even now, when I want to share a child's work – always to show how good it is not how bad it is – I ask permission from the child first. But of course this was 1986 so our memories were of the 1970s. I do think it is a rare teacher that does this nowadays – in the course of my whole career I've only ever met conscientious teachers – and that is definitely something to celebrate!
For me, doing a four-year teaching degree was perfect. I don't think I'd have responded so well to the pace of a PGCE. We had so many different teaching practices over the four years so by the time I qualified I had a whole range of vital skills.
Teaching is still fresh for me after all these years in the classroom because, of course, there are always new children. The joy of being a teacher is working with a child and thinking how is this person going understand this? How are they going to move on and get to the next part? It's a bit like solving a puzzle and needing to use all your skills and experience to do it.
As a teacher you have to use your powers of intelligence and observation to help them solve the problem and that's something I love doing. Finding out how people tick really matters to me.
I really want to help children enjoy their day at school and found you can make their day really appetising by being creative. But of course it's a big responsibility. When you are a teacher you have the opportunity to show individuals that they really matter. It's your job to discover their talents and help them find out who they are. This has always been a central part of my teaching. I really want to help shape people's lives, to help them discover they are important as individuals.
For the last seven years I've worked in a brilliant school, All Saints C of E primary school in Roffey. The school is only in its 11th year and I actually witnessed the laying of the foundation stone when it was just a muddy field. I do think that the school I work in now is extra special. The headteacher Susan Costa is the best head I've ever worked with. Teaching is a journey, you need to reflect every now and then. A great teacher will keep learning and teach on the basis of respect for the children. I've been really inspired by my current head who is constantly urging us to refresh and reflect.
We do what's called "the captivating curriculum". The whole idea is that we give the children memorable experiences. Every term has a "stunning start" to captivate the pupils. In fact, we will often start this before the term even begins, for example sending letters out to the children saying treasure has been discovered in the school grounds, or that they need to come to school on the first day of term ready to catch an aeroplane. There's a lot of dressing up by teachers as well as students.
I'm a PAA teacher now, which means I go into other teachers' classes while they can have some time out planning and creating lessons. You have to have a huge portfolio of specialisms. So I get to teach many different children over the whole school. I teach three days a week. I opted for part-time teaching as I wanted to invest a lot of time in my own children and being a parent has really informed my teaching.
Teamwork makes so much difference to how you feel as a teacher. The school I'm working in now has such a great ethos and culture of teamwork, and that comes right through from the head, to the classroom teachers, to support roles – and by extension to children and parents. We do feel valued and move forward as a team and that makes a huge difference to how you feel about your job. Teachers have to give their heart and soul and without that basis of respect for your colleagues it doesn't work so well.
There are always new horizons in teaching. I find it fascinating that teaching can stay fresh – you are always learning, always building on what you know. My latest thing is doing some forest school training. It's a way of children using their environment, being in the woods, making fires, building dens. Being outside gives teachers another way to help children find their skills and strengths. It's such a different way of learning and a different world for children to really shine. That confidence feeds back into what they are doing in other areas.
My worry about teaching now is that it's so hard to be a teacher these days. But there are many positives now that didn't exist when I started out, for example in the level of support a classroom teacher will get from teaching assistants is far more now.
And the very idea of PPA time is wonderful. I know teachers can't get all their planning done in this time, but the fact that it's formally recognised is a tangible way of admitting teachers work outside their teaching hours. It's got to be a good thing. When I look around at all the personalities in the class I think: here is our future, and I long for the right people to continue to go into teaching.
Mary Beal teachers at All Saints Church of England primary school in Roffey, near Horsham
Read Mary's resource on religious symbolism here.
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As a Teacher I Can Make a Difference Essay
958 Words4 Pages
Learning is a part of everyday life and teachers are to credit for it, whether it is teaching a sing-a-long or a life lesson. Teaching is a very important career that allows children a chance to better themselves. Knowing that a child will walk away with a better understanding and feel good about them gives me a great sense of accomplishment. With my love of children and the qualities I bring to the classroom, I feel that as a teacher I can make a difference.
Teachers that show themselves as warm, encourage their students to work harder and strive for success. I believe that teachers are more than an instructor but also a role model and friend. Instruction should be student centered, as John Dewey believed, making…show more content…
In turn, motivation will play an important role in my classroom.
Younger children need to know more often that they are doing exceptionally well at their studies. From observing others, I want to praise and encourage those who do just that. Bulletin boards as well as other posters and displays should show the excellent papers and work of particular students. This will not only allow them to see their talents and keep up their good work but also show the other children examples and how to strive for their accomplishments.
I believe that my students should have responsibilities of their own as well. I would like to have a classroom pet so that it will teach them compassion and show them that they can be helpful. As well as a pet, I have seen in classrooms small job charts. Whether it be dusting erasers or picking up papers, it helps to have the children involved in the process. Younger children like to help out whenever they can as I have seen in my field observation and in my own teaching. I think that it is very important to show them that they are growing up and can take on these responsibilities.
Even though there will be a vast amount of praise in my classroom, there must be discipline to maintain control. With my belief as a realist, the students will be told the rules of the classroom on the very first day with ears attentive and minds ready to learn. Recurring bad behaviors will not be tolerated