This term, I am a 'caretaker' Head of English until our new boss takes the reins in September. In this role I'm asked to, and enjoy, reviewing the curriculum and evaluating and amending it for the new school year. Many questions are posed to the English team. What is working? Should we start GCSE a little earlier in year 9? Where's the interleaving and spiralling (buzz words 2018/19) Are we finally done with studying 'Holes' with year 7 and 8?
However, the one question that I feel needs to posed more than any other is, WHY are we doing this in the first place?
The Big Why
Now, I'm the first to put my hands up and say that I rarely ponder this question - I mean REALLY ponder it. So, let's have a go. There are the obvious and, let's face it, incredibly important practical reasons. It pays reasonably well, we get good holidays, you can finish at a reasonable time and, maybe, fetch children from school, nursery or nan and grandad so that we can spend some time with them before bed.
There are, of course, more individually and socially fulfilling reasons to teach. We can make a difference to kids. Guiding, nurturing and possibly inspiring them to read that book that hooks them, or see a scientific truth that changes the way they see the world. We might be that role model who listens to them, has time for them and encourages them and helps gets them back on the right path after a wayward turn.
Or, for you, it might be your subject that drives you on: your passion for Picasso or Dickens or Darwin. Your niche may serve as a creative outlet that let's you indulge in your penchant for YA literature or solve those mind-blowing equations.
Let's ask it
My question to you today is, why do you teach? The answer may be as clear as crystal to you - you love the kids, your subject, your school. Or, you may be someone who has some reasons to teach that are strong enough to keep your head above water and afloat. Alternatively, you may find that the answers do not come that easy. All are fine - honesty is the best policy. Just see what is.