Pity me. No, seriously: pity me.
It’s 23:24 on New Year’s Eve and I’m currently at a party, but have taken myself off to a quiet corner to report on a conversation I just had in real life.
What, I hear my loyal and intelligent readers ask, could have prompted such an impromptu post?
It was a conversation I had.
As a teacher it is so easy to become trapped in a bubble, conversing only with other teachers, and often teachers who share the same sort of values and particular weltauschauung concerning education and everything related to that bizarre little world.
So I’m at a party and have taken the opportunity to talk to real people with real jobs. The rest of this post will simply report, verbatim, a conversation I just had. I’ll let you analyse it, I am but merely a neutral reporter. I have no judgement, but think it’s worth sharing how some view the profession.
“Hi, how’s it going?”
“Fine thanks, I’m Jon.”
“Nice to meet you Jon, what do you do?”
“I’m a teacher.”
“Oh my god I’d love to be a teacher. All those holidays. It sounds amazing.”
I take a deep breath and smile politely. “Yeah it’s great, what do you do?”
“Oh I’m in HR. It’s kind of boring, you know [rolls her eyes]. It’s complicated. A lot of stress but it’s cool. What do you teach?”
“I teach primary. I teach year six.”
“Oh my god. That is SO…CUTE. I bet they’re adorable. I’ve got a nephew who’s eight and he’s hilarious.”
“Ah that’s nice, I’m sure you’re a great auntie.”
“Yeah. I think that I would’ve liked to do teaching. But I wanted to try and really have a go at life first. I mean, obviously all of the holidays are great, but I wanted to try and really do a proper career. I feel like I’d rather do a proper job and, even if I fail, and have to go into teaching, at least I tried.”
[clenching my teeth, slightly] “That sounds like a good plan, so do you enjoy what you do?”
“It’s really complicated. Like, it’s business stuff, I’m in meetings all the time working different deals. That’s when I wish I was just playing with kids.”
“I mean, no offence, but it seems like people who do teaching just sort of fall into it. Like, they didn’t want to do it but they had no other option. You know what I mean?”
“I’m not really sure I do.”
“Ok I don’t wanna offend you or anything, but I just think teaching is like really easy holidays. And no offence but like it’s for people who sort of fell into it. I mean, it’s easy isn’t it.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Well lots of reasons. You have to be responsible for 30 children for 6 hours solid-”
“Yeah but they’re little kids!”
“Right, but behaviour can be an issue, so you have to manage that.”
“Hm, I could maybe understand that with secondary school. But in primary they just do what you say.”
“I’m not sure that’s true, behaviour management in primary can be very tough.”
She flicks a sarcastic smile at me.
“And of course you’re responsible for their learning, that means making sure each child is being appropriately supported or challenged, constantly. It’s a complex business.”
“I might do it one day. Like, if I want a break and get stressed with me job to much. And the holidays are so amazing. It’s like 6 weeks in the summer right? I’d love that.”
“Absolutely. You should do it.”