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What I love about teaching

Updated: Jul 9, 2019

In truth I have always thought of myself as a bit of a storyteller. It has always brought me joy to share episodes of my own personal experiences and adventures, especially in the context of younger people. I am also the eldest of three so naturally am fiercely competitive with high expectations. And that is all teaching is. It is storytelling. Can I remember the lesson objectives of set 2 English in Year 10 on Wednesday morning? Probably not. Could I repeat back to you the comments from my geography teacher on my Year 11 mock exam? Most definitely not. Can I remember how Milankovitch cycles dictate both global and regional climatic conditions on our planet and can be used as evidence to support historical climate change? I absolutely can. VIVIDLY. Why? That was the lesson my Geography teacher fell off his desk chair and later in the lesson used me as a human 'Sun' whilst he rotated the class around me to simulate the Earth's eccentricity (seriously guys go look it up, it is very interesting). Okay, so what is my point here? Emotion is powerful. Memories that can latch themselves onto emotions are long-term. Again, that is all teaching is: academic content transferred through relatable stories that embed themselves into the emotional memory of your students.

And I love it.

Many people hear the word 'learning' and automatically associate thoughts of textbook piles with long hours of study and research. I would argue in fact, that the very nature of learning is discreet. It is not something that can be visualised. It is also incredibly hard to measure. My favourite reference to 'learning' is by a chap called Daniel Willingham who wrote:

"Learning is the residue of thought"

What I love about this definition is that it encapsulates the idea that to learn is to think and you think about what you enjoy.

I love learning about geography, I love to tell others about what I love about geography and I love trying to make others love geography.

Teaching is more than the transfer of knowledge; teaching is a rewarding, stimulating and challenging learning process that cultivates the ability to look at the world critically, encourages inquisition and builds student belief in their own capacity. Simply put, you become a part of a young persons journey through adolescence. You are the model that students learn from, who imprint from; you are both mother and father. Providing young people the platform to succeed in the world; what could be more important than that? Who wouldn’t want to take on that challenge and have that type of impact on young people’s lives?

For me, teaching as a profession has an abundance of rewarding elements from the evolution of students into young adults, to an utterly diverse working environment and the opportunity to engage further in your discipline. However, accompanied with such a personally and professionally rewarding career are several challenges; learning is continuous. I must always think “What is best for the students learning?”, find the ability to constantly self-reflect on my own practice and develop versatility to adopt a different approach if required. As a teacher I must take responsibility for my own personal development and have a critical approach to innovation of curriculum and classroom structure. That means modesty, that means reflecting on failures, that means celebrating successes, that means improving, that means never settling for anything less than the best practitioner I can be for the benefit of my students. To me, it’s addictive.

I love learning about geography, I love to tell others about what I love about geography and I love trying to make others love geography.

If you’re looking for a set of solid answers or principles to justify why I chose to teach, you will not find any. Every single current and future teacher will have bespoke justification and reasoning as to why they teach, which blossoms from what they are truly passionate about. No teacher is alike; you may develop and share ideas about content and classroom management but you’ll find your own individual preference or technique. Teaching is about learning inside and outside of the classroom; teaching young people about core life values and more than just retainable and measurable information. As a teacher you play a big role in the development of young personalities, a large stakeholder if you like in the subsequent decisions and opportunities that person makes and gets. That’s the beauty (and misery) about teaching as a profession.

And quite frankly, nothing

#teaching #teacher #education #geographyteacher #getintoteaching #teach

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