Teachers – A Breed Apart



Life events heralded the momentous decision to leave the secure, closeted world of full-time teaching and venture onto new pathways. I always knew, however that teaching would still be a backup plan.  I think I always knew that the lure of the small people would keep me attached to a profession that cannot be learnt; you are either a natural teacher or you are not.

Thinking back to the huge amount of children who have had the misfortune to have passed through my care, and it really was care… I wonder how many of them, the eldest in their later 20’s would remember anything from our time together.  It is true what they say – you recall the best and worst teachers you encounter. I have never had a wish to be the bland middle-ground.

My love of teaching and my philosophy stemmed from the sheer hatred of my own experiences at infant school. Nothing was nurtured, in fact the one time I was really happy, there was an obvious influx of children mid-year and I was bright, booted out of my contented world to the top year where I stayed for a year and a half, with the most horrid of individuals.  So when my vocation called, I was adamant that any child would enjoy their time with me, not be afraid to be who they were, learn to love learning and above all, laugh! Unfortunately for most, unequivocal and shameless indoctrination into the ways of Brighton and Hove Albion was the ultimate price for a year of me!  

Any fellow teachers reading this will understand what I mean when I say that there were year groups you said goodbye to in July and felt tears of sadness. Other times, the champagne corked was popped as soon as the bell for end of year rang and you gave a supportive slap on the back to the next poor soul who now inherited that cohort!

Working with the sponge-age children gave me such pleasure. The joy and positivity that emanates from the most bizarre thing created such happiness. I loved seeing the class ignore all the monetary toys and be enthralled by a large cardboard box! Hours spent getting in it, under it and climbing over it, making it into a den and letting their imaginations run free with exuberance. Or allowing small people to garden…watching ants or digging a hole to Australia was such fun (very Mirandaesque).  

Alongside the learning was the very important social responsibility. You were their ‘day mummy’ and boy, that could often be a huge burden. Regardless of their own feelings about the individual, teachers have the underrated skill of making everyone feel equally wanted, cared for and championed. It probably is the ultimate acting. A classroom lovey.

As a supply, not having your own class to develop has a plus side. You can walk away, you can sleep at night without worry, but it also detaches you from the best moments in the profession – those where you make a difference. Never underestimate the power of a compliment, of a light-bulb moment, of listening.

Teachers are a breed apart. No one goes into teaching for a) the money or b) an easy ride.  We probably laugh the most and share such happiness in asides and snapshots of our classes.  Working with children does keep you young, it gives you bonkers moments and can wipe away all the stresses of the adult world.

And the thing we all treasure the most? I am sure I am not alone in having a memory box of cards. It is those who trouble to write their thanks. That is what makes the whole job worthwhile.


“They may forget what you said, but they will not forget how you made them feel.” Carl Buechner

(very true Mrs Weatherly, Year 2, Flora McDonald Junior School)
Dream BIG, Sparkle MORE, Shine BRIGHTLY

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