What gets me up in the morning: the exciting prospect of helping children to understand the ever-changing world around them

An English teacher on why the job puts a spring in his step

Adam Bernard

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Leaving bed is never easy. On weekends, I could happily stay in mine for hours on end, but come Monday the morning alarm rouses me for an 8am briefing, which I often make in the nick of time.

It was always presumed that I would follow my father’s footsteps into real estate, so my decision to teach children in an inner-city London school left my parents gawking.

“You do know teaching isn’t the most lucrative of professions?” they said in a familiar tone of disdain.

I knew very well that I wasn’t going to survey the staffroom on my first day and find the suited and booted type. That's not to say a teacher can’t afford an Armani suit, but let’s face it, when X smacks Z on the nose at breaktime and the jacket that cost you hundreds of pounds is covered in blood, what's the point?

At some schools you’d be lucky to identify a teacher with a pair of matching socks or a shirt free of creases, which might I add, we button up with gusto. Yes, our blouses may be tea-stained and our tights laddered but we are paid homage for shaping the future movers and shakers of the world, preparing them to triumph in their chosen fields.

No place I'd rather be

I wouldn’t have it any other way. To this day, when the prologue of another English lesson clatters into full force, I know without a doubt, there is no place I would rather be and no job I would rather do than this one, regardless of salary. Helping children understand the ever-changing world around them is an exciting prospect. When the penny finally drops and the light bulb flashes, you know you have made a difference, and that’s worth its weight in gold.

I often hear my friends waxing lyrical about fancy paid holidays, swanky new company cars and after-work drinks at the plushest of West End bars. They get up to make money and go to bed thinking about the prospect of making more and I couldn’t be happier for them.

I go to bed at night thinking about how I can use my brain to better the world and it’s certainly what gets me up in the morning, too. 

Adam Bernard teaches English at a school in New York City

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