For many of us, teaching is one of the best jobs in the world. You get to work with people, young people often, and you see them grow, develop and learn. It is a very rewarding experience to feel that you had some part to play in that growth and learning.
Although it is one of the best jobs in the world, it is also one of the most demanding. The role makes demands upon you personally, intellectually and physically, it makes demands upon your time and the time of those around you, such as your partner and family. Over time, those demands can build up and, sadly, many good and great teachers feel the need to move on or leave the profession.
Looking back on a teaching career can be full of regrets and joys, hopefully more joys than regrets. Yet how often do we teachers as individuals recognise and acknowledge the best times in our teaching careers? Perhaps we keep memories of such times to ourselves or perhaps we just forget them or perhaps there are just so many that we feel we cannot remember them all. So why not create a list, apparently teachers are supposed to be good at lists, of the best times in a teaching career?
I present here a suggestion of 10 lists a teacher might like to create;
- 10 pupils I most enjoyed teaching. We all know that some learners stand out from others and it’s not always the brightest or ablest that we most enjoy, sometimes it can be those learners who give us the most challenge whom we enjoy teaching the most.
- 10 things pupils taught me. Experience soon shows us that teaching is not a one way process, sometimes the learners show us things we didn’t know.
- The most memorable school events. Teaching is not just about what goes on in the classroom, there are many other activities and events in which we get involved as teachers, from trips out, to school assemblies. Some are more memorable than others.
- Best colleagues I worked with. Teaching is often about working well with colleagues as well as working with learners. Some of those colleagues can be inspiring and others are a source of help and support.
- The topics/subjects I most enjoyed teaching. Some of the teaching we do, we may consider to be a drudge but, equally, or maybe even moreso, there are usually some topics or subjects that stand out for us and which we really enjoy teaching.
- 10 things I’d change for the better in schools. Oh yes, we all know about the grumps and the moans in the staffroom, how we’d like to change this or that but are there any changes that you’d really like to make that would makes schools better?
- The best, or funniest, comments I ever heard from parents. Whether verbal or written, it is always great to receive praise or positive comments from parents, or sometimes even a thank you is nice.
- The best jokes I ever learned from pupils. Keep them clean! We all know that some pupils are simply great for coming up with the latest jokes that you then go and retell in the staffroom.
- 10 things I wish I had done but didn’t. Ah regrets, I’ve had a few ….
- 10 things I’ll miss about teaching. You may think there is nothing you’d miss from teaching but think again and I bet you’ll find them…
There you go.
You will notice that my title says lists to write ‘before retiring’, you may think that you’re nowhere near to retiring or leaving the profession. I’d still say there is some value in creating these lists; they may help focus upon the good and positive side of the job, which are easy to forget on a Sunday afternoon when you’re planning and preparing next week’s lessons.