What's good about teaching?

We often hear about the challenges that teachers face, but rarely about the real treasures of teaching. After all, each day thousands of teachers go to school every day, and despite the pressures, many enjoy their work.

One of the main rewards is when there is a breakthrough in a child’s learning, “What I love is that ‘eureka’ moment when a child’s face lights up.They have seen the light, all has become clear and they are so proud of what they have achieved,” says Margaret Carr, primary school teacher. 

Working with difficult pupils is often one of the major challenges that teachers face, but it can also be fulfilling, says Kirk Wootton, KS3 science coordinator. “Turning disillusioned and bored students into kids that actually want to learn and continue to learn throughout their school years is one of the great things about teaching,” he says. It’s not only good for teachers but it also has great benefits on a child’s self-esteem when you see the pride in the face of a disaffected student who suddenly realises that they can succeed after all, he adds.

Others say that if you get the relationship right with children it helps to create a rewarding atmosphere of learning. “It’s the interaction with the pupils: trying to establish an atmosphere that’s good for both sides; allowing for mistakes and humour (you’ll have the funniest language ‘mis’-takes when you teach modern foreign languages),” says Ute Bretschneider, secondary school teacher.

While the nine-to-five hours offer predictable, routine days, teaching is anything but and it can be one of the bonuses of teaching. “Each day is different. You can teach the same lesson to different classes and get totally different responses,” says Kirk. Also, by awakening a child’s curiousity about a subject, you can help them to develop independent learning skills as they go off to research topics on the internet, he adds.

Finally, just being part of a school community brings its own joy. “I love it when I meet students in town years later and they come and talk about some long-forgotten event that clearly meant so much to them,” says Margaret.

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