‘I love hearing 30 little brains working at once'

One languages teacher explains the interactions and observations of her teaching day that make her love her job

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"No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world." (From Dead Poets Society, 1989). This is what gets me up in the morning.

Only there, in front of my students, do I feel I am a magician waving my magic wand and playing with these words and ideas. There is no word invented yet to describe that feeling you have as a teacher when you, only you, can hear 30 or even more little brains working at once. "But there is no noise when the brain works," some people might say. Oh, yes, there is, and if you are a teacher you know this noise so well. And the more you get, the more you want.

What gets me up in the morning? Well, I have to be there because teaching is caring, and caring is when you open the class door at 8.40am on a cold autumn morning and you are ready to smile and wipe some tears on some little frozen cheeks.

'Because I feel my job'

It's when you are not afraid to help a five-year-old blowing his nose or tying his laces. It's when you run an after-school club at 3.20pm and you bring in some fruit, to share with your little learners, while learning numbers, or days, or animals, or songs, after a long and exhausting day. It's when you spend your break time reading a story on the carpet, on a rainy day, and you don't feel embarrassed using funny voices. It's when you call your pupils ''Monsieur'' and ''Mademoiselle'', just to show them how important they are. It's when you feel your job, not only do your job...

What gets me up in the morning? The "This was a very nice lesson" comment that I always wish to get from Caitlin, my Year 3 pupil and my very personal Ofsted inspector. If she doesn’t come at the end of the lesson with her feedback, then I am worried something went wrong with my teaching that day.

What gets me up in the morning? The noises in the playground; the smell of coffee coming from the staffroom; the laughter I hear in the printer room; the violins getting ready for a day of practise in the music room; the yellow balls and red cones sitting quietly in the gymnasium ready for the PE lesson; the smile I can see on my colleague’s face while reading an e-mail; the conversation I can hear at the end of the corridor about new ideas in teaching maths.

And I could find another hundred reasons for being a teacher, but most important of all is this: whatever gets you up in the morning, you should just love it. 

Florentina Popescu is a French teacher at J and C Academy in north-west London

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