Updated: Oct 6, 2018
On World Teachers' Day, I consider some of my favourite things about being a teacher, and think about the opportunities, friendships and understanding which it has brought to my life.
1.) I get the chance to meet so many lovely and interesting young people, who have such a positive impact on my life. Each pupil of mine has changed me in a way which may not be immediately detectable, but is, nonetheless, significant. Some have opened my eyes to a new culture or way of life, others have shown me what a difference my chosen career path can make. Sometimes a certain pupil may cause me to become more authoritative or patient, while another may help me to realise the depth of my compassion. Being a teacher has helped me to learn more about myself: my strengths, weaknesses and limits.
2.) I have the privilege of helping to shape the lives of so many people. Teaching means that I can have an impact not only in my classroom, but also creating a ripple effect. If I teach a future doctor how to think logically and keep calm under examination pressure, they could use what they have learned in my lessons to help save lives in the future. A pupil of mine who has perfected their writing style in my lessons could use that to write a book which will reach thousands. It is a feeling which cannot be gained from many professions but, as teachers, we have that honour, and I take it very seriously.
3.) It is very difficult to be sad while teaching. I have started a lesson not feeling so great, but, with the sight of textbook pages being turned, hands raised or an inquisitive question being asked, a bad mood can be lifted. When I am buried deep within my passion for my subjects and busy passing it on to my pupils, it is impossible not to smile.
4.) My job is to talk about what I love. How great is that? I love talking, I love grammar, poetic styles, rhetorical devices, complicated Latin vocabulary and historical facts. I love structuring essays. I love learning. And the best way to learn something, is to teach it.
5.) Some of the best friendships I have made are through teaching. Some of my best friends are teachers I met while working as a Teacher of Classics in Glasgow. We swap "teacher stories" and have kept in touch despite living in different countries for the last four years. Teachers understand teachers. We understand the difficult evenings grading papers which haven't turned out right, the endless planning to perfect lessons for exam classes, and the nervous wait for results day. It is comforting to have fellow teachers to talk to in times of success and moments of doubt.
6.) Teaching has allowed me to travel the world. I was lucky enough to work as a travelling tutor for three years, and visited Hong Kong, the Italian Alps, the Berlin Wall and many more, all while getting paid to teach. It is an experience which has opened my eyes to the flexibility of teaching, and ultimately led me to start my own company tutoring online. Teaching is my passport to the world, and I am loving every minute of my adventures.