I've finished my final placement on my BEd course (I stress the word final) and feel it's time to share some of my finer moments in teaching.
Being a male in a female-dominated environment brings some interesting comments. Five weeks on a nursery placement and the children are asking what that "daddy" is doing there. Cries of "Me's got a man teacher" can be heard all around. I also acquired the name Bob, despite it sounding nothing like my in-school alter ego, Mr Martin. In fact, when I first heard Mr Martin, I ignored itI who, me? That's my dad.
On the other end of the scale, there are those times when the ever-knowing children are fully aware of your student teacher status. But it still comes as a surprise to be asked if you're from the local secondary school doing work experience. I'm 21, for goodness sake.
And nothing quite prepares you for a placement. Why doesn't college tell you how to cope when an experiment goes wrong? When the papier-mache doesn't dry? When it's wet interval? Those last three words should - and will - fill you with dread. "A wet interval" is a whole other experience in itself: 33 restless children, all desperate to be released for 15 minutes of freedom. Never mind them. We teachers need a rest too. We come back into a classroom full of the lingering smell of crisps and additive-laden sweets. It makes you wonder why you do it.
But right now, I'd not choose anything else. For every down there's an up and, as I was once told, "you've got to experience bad days to appreciate the good". No day in teaching is the same - and every day provides a new learning experience. I often surprise myself with my ability to be serious when faced with a normally amusing scenario.
But I know I've made the right choice, and if my teaching career has as many highlights as each and every one of my placements, then I'm sure I'll enjoy a long career in education.
If not, do I hear Blue Peter calling?
Keith Martin is a fourth-year BEd student at Moray House Institute of Education, Edinburgh