teaching with 'p' plates on

Posts Tagged ‘school musical

One thing that proper winds me up are people who criticise teachers. Yes, they may not always be presented in the best possible light by the media, but I don’t need telling that I’m ‘mad’ (or equivalent) because I decided to take a career path which doesn’t involve getting paid overtime, sometimes dealing with toe-rags and being constantly tired. I didn’t go straight into teaching – my first post-grad job was a standard office jaunt which I hated so much it drove me to depression (that’s another story for another day) – but, the point is that I have known life outside of the classroom and it wasn’t for me; I like to think I made a remotely informed decision when I first sent off applications for teacher training!

Surely the reason (most of us) do our jobs is because they give us some sort of gratification? For me, I got no kick out of staring at a computer screen all day and nodding like a Churchill dog pretending I agreed with the corporate numpties and their ridiculous range of motivation metaphors. Even if life was ‘easier’ back then, one of the best things about teaching for me is what I do outside of the classroom, the parts where I don’t get paid overtime and lose precious planning time.

This week, myself and some of my lovely colleagues put on the annual school musical extravaganza after six months of constant rehearsals (what am I going to do with all this free time come Monday afternoon?!). I joined the musical team during my training year – there was no question of whether I would do it or not as it’s all I did when I was a kid – so I’m still very much a newbie compared to some of the others who have been doing it for a good few years. Despite our moments of moaning, CBA-ing and counting down the hours until it was all over, our final show last night was certainly a reminder to me of why we do it in the first place.

Of course, our goal as teachers is to inspire and excite students in our subjects, yet I’ve found that some of the best relationships with pupils can be made after the last bell has rung. My normally stone heart was melted last night as most of the cast sobbed their way through the final number; you forget that for many of the kids stood on that stage, they don’t have a reason to go home in the same way the staff do. That’s not because they have bad lives necessarily – if you’re having fun prancing around on stage with your mates, why would you want to stop? I could console the younger ones by telling them there was always next year, but the #totesemosh part was seeing upper sixth formers, who are significantly taller and more talented than me, looking for some comforting words to dry their tears now their last ever school musical performance was over. There is nothing more satisfying to me than having that kind of impact on a young person’s life. Whilst trying to keep my own heart in tact, I told them to be happy that they will have these wonderful memories from their school days and look back on them fondly. More importantly from my perspective, I recognised that those memories wouldn’t exist in the first place if it wasn’t for the staff who can afford to give up their time to help the students put on a show.

We all know that grades and academic achievement are vital for a successful future, but I have never seen students sad to leave their last ever lesson. It showed me how important it is to ensure I continue (while I can) to give our kids opportunities that they don’t get from sitting in a classroom, and who cares if I don’t get paid anything for it? A ‘thank you’ is priceless.

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