Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hardest part of teaching

The hardest part that I find in teaching is about now... I am useless at waiting and I'm sitting here at 3am in the morning thinking about all the things my students need to know prior to sitting their university entrance examinations. All the concepts, skills and content that they need to know whizzing about keeping me awake, new methods of teaching, old ways revisited - all with the potential of being better than what we did this year.

The programme of work is finished for many year 12 courses. Now these students need to study past papers, ask questions, work together to master final concepts before sitting their mock and final exams.

Did they get through enough? Will they be ok? I've been told by many a teacher that we just do a job. Deliver, let them sit exams move onto the next cohort. I'm still pretty skeptical of this view. We're not their friends as some suggest, no doubt in many cases we become fond of them - but the academic bond is far more important than what they think of us, we live through their successes and failures. It's the nature of the job.

I suppose this first set of exams is the hardest, we want the best for their futures. Even at 16 they are still kids and any number of factors can affect their performance on the day. There are heaps of ways for them to succeed outside of this exam, but this one opportunity is a confidence builder and can be the thing that sets them on their academic pathway.

Being an idealist, the early stages of a project is the most interesting as this is the time new ideas flourish and before we get too set in our ways, we are now most open to these new ideas. The longer the idealist lasts, the greater the opportunity to do something great. We have so many opportunities - creating a legacy in the school with all sorts of kids; indigenous, troubled, high performing, from families of low academic success, sporting kids, kids that will pursue social good over money - all needing mentors and pathfinders. The school itself needs subject areas built to attract new students to the ethos of the school and its values.

Sometimes the brush fires outweigh the big picture but the big picture is where we need to keep our focus. The current feeling is that the current pay dispute needs to end and ended quickly so we can start preparing for next year in earnest. Let's hope this is what ultimately happens and a new brighter dawn in education begins.

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