8 Things I can confirm after being a teacher for 8 months

 

1. Marking sucks. Remember how teachers used to moan about their workload, and bitch that we only had to do one piece of homework while they had to mark 60? Yeah, they were right. And I don’t even have to mark homework. The first time I marked my class assessments it was kind of fun, like pretending to be a teacher. Wielding the full force of the red pen. Passive-aggressive question marks and cute smiley faces. And then it sunk in that I am actually a real teacher (well kind of) and very much responsible for the red marks and how they represent my own failure just as much as stupid little Juan-Pablo’s. Now every little cross is like a dagger through my heart.grading-pie-chart_o_152463

2. If you ever felt like your teacher irrationally hated you for no reason, they probably did. Ok before I start, I’m not proud of this one. But there is some kind of weird human instinct thing that happens now and then when you just have an innate dislike for someone for no logical reason. Like dogs. Some people just rub you the wrong way. They just have that glint in their eye. Or that annoying face. Or that stupid name. It’s like the opposite of love at first sight. And it turns out children aren’t exempt. Some of them can get away with absolute murder because they’re hilarious and/or cute… And others  just make you want to punch them in the face (or some other non-violent, socially acceptable form of punishment.)

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3. Remember the whole ‘If what you’re saying is so important then why don’t you come up here and tell the whole class’ power-move that teachers used to pull? Yeah it was awful. But it feels. So. Good. The first time I said this in front of a class it didn’t occur to me until it was half out of my mouth that I was echoing the arch nemeses of my childhood. And I actually felt some kind of remorse towards them. I’ve since accepted my fate and embraced the clichés that blighted my school years, even handing a student the pen and going to sit down for them to carry on teaching the class.

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4.But seriously, someone talking while you’re trying to explain something is the most annoying thing in the world. Especially when you know that the little prick definitely isn’t talking because they already know what to do. And you know that as soon as you’re done and you tell them to start working they’re going to beckon you over with an ‘Aiii seňo no entendiiii…’ Claro que no.

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5. You’re not cheating me, you’re cheating yourself. I know this is covered by the umbrella of tired clichés, but this humdinger needs a section of its own. I have students who are still incapable of answering simple yes no questions yet try to argue (in Spanish) that they didn’t copy from Wikipedia when they even included the pronunciation of the title in the phonetic alphabet.  I ask them to explain words or sentences in Spanish and wait for the inevitable ‘Seňo, es que…’ followed by awkward shuffling. I had seven students on one test write the same nonsensical answer to the wrong question…

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6. All kinds of shit goes down in the teachers’ room. Birthday parties with music, cake and inappropriate dancing. Political speeches, jumble sales, mental breakdowns. Oh and we definitely bitch about students in there. Well I don’t because no one really talks to me, but they do. I’ve heard them. They bitch about your parents too. I’m not sure this is representative of teachers’ rooms worldwide, but if it is then someone should really look into starting a reality TV show.

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7.Remember being astounded at how shit teachers Powerpoint skills were? The memory of sloppy Comic Sans on a grey background with different sized blurry photos has stuck with me far more than any content from said presentations. And it was only while half-heartedly stretching a photo of Gareth Bale to conform to Michael Owen’s symmetry that it dawned on me that they, like me, were probably perfectly capable of making a reasonable presentation but just couldn’t wait to get it over with so that they could get back to watching Strictly. (I assume this is what real teachers do)

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8. I know it’s cheesy and predictable but teaching is genuinely incredibly rewarding. Sometimes. Yes, most days I want to scream/ punch someone in the face, but while I kind of expected this to be the case with a group of 40+ teenagers, it’s not just because of their behaviour, but rather that there is so much to be done that sometimes it just feels like pissing into the wind. Ok and also their behaviour. But when you explain something and miraculously the whole class pays attention, or even just half, and your activity actually works and goes smoothly, or someone says a whole sentence with no mistakes. Or just says a whole sentence. Or just anything really. I’m pretty easily impressed at this point. It overrides all of the horrible, shitty frustration of the rest of the day.

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