I wrote this originally in Dutch, but Sara Hjelm asked me again and again to translate it to English. So I tried. As the original text used quite a lot of typical Dutch expressions, translating the text was pretty hard. Do send possible corrections if you spot a mistake.
Being a teacher is the best job in the world. The teachers who read this will agree with me, others will probably disagree, but they’re wrong.
Teachers are the lucky ones who can teach kids the miracle of reading. Suddenly they enter the world of written language after hours, days, weeks, months of hard labour. But there are also the discussions you have with your teenagers who test their and your thinking and possibilities … too many to mention.
It is a job where the whole world can enter your classroom. Think of all the good and all the evil that happens in society, and now a teacher can and will experience it in your classroom, from every war to each new sibling being born. From their first infatuations to their first loss.
It is a job with a huge responsibility, that’s right. We get the children on loan from their parents and we need to prepare these kids for our society. The parents and the society also often point us at those responsibilities. Whenever something goes wrong, they ask education to take it on.
But we are responsible people. We feel responsible. That’s why we talk about our children, our students. Ok, sometimes we also will talk about our little rascals, but still full of love.
It’s also why you can recognize a teacher in this picture:
It is also the reason why some people who do not understand the teacher profession, will advocate something like merit pay. Paying teachers more if their students perform better. They think it is teacher like to be having a great lesson in their file drawer but that they are only waiting for more money to teach the best class they ever did. A real teacher only wants the best for his or her class. A real teacher actually will walk the extra mile by definition. This is also the reason why the teachers will keep on going even if the workload keeps increasing and increasing…
It is also why teaching can become too much. No, it isn’t the hormones, the many meetings, the many demands, … No, it is constantly performing for an audience, for your children. But we have one big luck, if we ever fail a class, there is usually a next chance straight away. And another, and another…
As a teacher you’ll receive ‘thank you’s’ sometimes in the strangest of ways. Most of the time not immediately, sometimes you’ll never get one of a pupil, but sometimes it happens very unexpected when you meet a former pupil or student. Or, for example, what e to me last Tuesday. There was a student in my class who indicated that he would quit his studies. My first thought was “shit, again a teacher lost for education”. But than told me he still wanted to come to my classes because he learned so much from me. I’m still smiling.
I told you, it’s the best job in the world.