From time to time, a political figure will imply that teachers are moaners. This is always pounced upon by proud defenders of the profession, who inform everyone about the impossible job they face in the classroom, their high stress levels and the endless assessment.
But I must admit that I tend to agree: teachers are moaners. I find it disappointing to hear – often in this very column – about how difficult teaching is: the endless marking, the inept management, the unacceptable working conditions…blah, blah, blah. Surely I can’t be the only teacher out there who actually enjoys their job?
Yes, I find marking tedious at times, but I do it because I see the pupils making the effort (mostly), so I think I should reciprocate.
Yes, I sometimes question decisions made by the headteacher, but often, with hindsight, I can see the logic.
If I can’t, then I console myself with the fact that I rarely know the bigger picture.
Yes, the senior management team frequently send down mandates, but if I can’t see how they will benefit pupils, I question them and receive a meaningful reply. It seems that management also have the pupils’ interests at heart.
Yes, I receive unreasonable email demands from parents, but when I follow up with a short phone call, we talk it through and they come to see the other side of their request.
Yes, children can be rude and unkind, but they are children and we have to remind ourselves of that.
Yes, I work very long hours during term time (between 50 and 70 hours a week), but my weekends are free and I have holidays to spend with friends and my young family.
Maybe I have been very lucky at the schools I have taught at (I have certainly chosen them carefully). Having a previous career has helped, too – or perhaps I just enjoy my job.
What I am saying might be unpopular; some might even see it as blasphemous. But I, a teacher, think teachers are moaners.
As I say to my pupils, if you have a problem do something about it. Don’t just sit there and complain.
The writer is a secondary teacher in England