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What gets me up in the morning: seeing my students progress

One languages teacher on why it's a joy to go to work every day

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There are many mornings when, like everyone else, I would like nothing more than to snuggle up under the duvet after the alarm goes off. There are, however, also those glorious mornings when I am excited to go to work – yes, even when I do have my Year 9 groups.

Maybe I’m lucky in the fact that more and more I find the pull to work and teaching, and I hope that this feeling continues – in fact, maybe I could bottle it, sell it and retire early. No, if that was the case I would miss the students and the interactions we share. Naturally, I don’t mean the rudeness that inevitably comes from teenagers whether they mean it or not but the rest of the time in their moments of debate, and questioning and actual work…Well, those moments are the best.

Overall, I have never worked with happier students than I do now. That is annoying sometimes when you want them to concentrate on the lesson or complete a written task without interrupting others learning. However, it is also a great part of my present role.

The joy of student achievement

But what gets me up most in the morning, is the desire to help these students achieve, for them to learn a language ready for their future when they will have to compete with others who already know many languages. The joy I get from realising that students of all abilities have completed a sentence or even paragraph of spoken French without realising it. When they have listened to each other speak French and have discussed which person gave the best answer and why.

With one of my Year 9 classes, we have just finished the first unit of their FCSE exams and – no matter how frustrating it was to get the students to revise and turn up ready for each exam – to actually see their results and how well they had done was great. However, the main thing that had me excited to go to work each day was to see them coming to my room to find out how they had done and expressing joy in their good results or disappointment in the fact they hadn’t done as well as they thought they would. That commitment to their learning and performance was amazing and, as we head into the next parts of their work, I am looking forward to seeing that enthusiasm and dedication in their approach to the work and their results again.

Maybe I could sum it up by saying, what gets me out of bed in the morning is seeing students achieve something, especially when they are actively involved in their learning and committed to the outcome rather than us as teachers having to chase them all the time. Let’s hope it continues!

Alison Laycock is a French teacher at Prince Andrew School, St Helena​

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