Performing in front of people is a stressful business. And which job requires it for six hours a day, five days a week? Teaching.
In education, the classroom is the stage, the rows are the stalls. The audience is children and they can be one tough audience to please.
Some don’t want to be there, they are forced to buy a ticket and they’d all better enjoy the show. If they don’t, they are sure to heckle.
Unlike the theatre, the only etiquette in the classroom is the etiquette the teacher enforces – when to laugh and for how long, when it’s ok to shout something out and when it isn’t, when to leave your seat to buy an ice cream, when to give a standing ovation.
While you are “on stage”, you can’t just walk off and re-start a lesson – it’s never a dress rehearsal. No toilet break escapes, no respite despite the personal disaster looming at home.
And all the while, hovering in the wings is the second job teachers have; to please everyone else – parents, school leaders, Ofsted, and the government.
There is little to show for the closed-door performance of a lifetime that you managed to pull off with Year 8. No one was watching. It takes every ounce of strength to “go again” after the poor reviews of the morning matinee.
It’s incredibly exhausting. Forget about marking, planning, data input – a teacher’s actual job, being active in that classroom, is inherently one of the most demanding ever.
Tom Rogers is a teacher who runs rogershistory.com