Finland is famous for its quality education and part of that is teachers there are well-respected and held in the highest regard. Australia might be a long way away but respect for teachers begins with understanding.
To help you understand teachers a bit better, here are three things you need to know:
Most people have their opinions about the teaching profession because they were students once. You can be kind to teachers by being the person who realizes things may have changed from back when you were a student.
It’s a kind thing to not assume what our days look like. We don’t kick back and relax or go home after that school bell rings. Neither do we teach only a couple of lessons to a whole class.
Volunteer in a primary classroom for a day and see how students are taught in groups according to where they’re at. For each Maths double period I teach, I have at least four learning activities planned and even more learning goals to help every student toward. Plus, there’s technology hiccups, classroom management and a student always wanting to go to the toilet.
Each parent helper who has graced our classroom always shares their appreciation of how teachers do it.
They’re a huge blessing, no doubt and I daresay it’s impossible for teachers to keep doing all we do, year after year, if not for the holidays – an opportunity to refresh.
I’m also a big fan of moments of rest throughout the term and doing our best to strike a work-life balance so we don’t run ourselves ragged, barely making it to the end of the term. That said, the holidays provide just that extra breather so we can come back refreshed and creative, able to give more to our students who deserve our best.
I’m hesitant to share this fact because I believe the joys of teaching far outweigh the stresses, plus there are ways of working smarter and as a Christian, relying on God’s strength always carries us through… but for the sake of being backed up by some research, here goes: ‘Teaching is consistently among the top three most stressful professions, according to a respected academic who has studied well-being in 80 occupations.’ You can read the full article on TES.
The teachers I know take curriculum seriously and think of creative ways to not only deliver content but to help students make meaning of it. But it’s never about knowing everything. I needed to be told this in my first year of teaching because somehow many of us have the unrealistic expectation of teachers having to know all the answers.
I quickly learnt this and boy was it freeing to just say, ‘I don’t know but we can find out!’
To create a learning culture, we must work towards an environment that does not expect anyone to know it all because the result of that is pretty precious: individuals who are willing to give things a go, even if it means ‘failing’.
The other thing about knowledge is that it’s not the most important thing about a teacher’s job. A eureka moment I had when doing my Masters of Teaching was reading about how we don’t know what the future will look like and so though we try, we cannot be sure that the knowledge we pass on is what the students will need. What’s the point before I sound too metaphysical? The best thing is to teach students how to learn so whatever the future holds, they have the skill to teach themselves.