Teachers are not superheroes

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We do not fight crime, we don’t get a fancy fire-retardant uniform in a variety of colours and patterns and we most certainly do not belong to an isolated members’ group in the forest where we regularly undertake a series of commando-style assault courses- well, at least not as a mandatory requirement of the Teacher Standards! What teachers need that very little professions require is the link.

The connection between the content and a students’ comprehension, curiosity and provocation with a topic is the teacher. With simply a curriculum, there cannot be success. With merely a page of instructions, there cannot be wonder or a notion. Teachers exist as a mechanism between the format and the final result, constructing and compiling a series of ways to enable students not only to excel within the immediate confines of a classroom, but to enter the world with the same hunger, motivation, strength and inquisitiveness in what means as much to them as the teacher’s subject is to the teacher.

Whilst I appreciate the personal involvement and emotional toil that other industries experience, I believe that teachers have a rather entwined relationship with the role. It is impossible to teach in a detached, linear fashion- you cannot succeed as a teacher without the injection of your own personality, habits; even your own experiences of education feed in. In the same way that a new parent knows what they will and will not take through from their own childhood within their new found role, teachers consciously or otherwise make decisions based on previous influence.

My professional mentor shared with me once that teachers are ‘as actors, but performing in front of a varying audience, eight times a day, five days a week’ whilst experiencing all sorts of personal crisis, loss and priority.  I recall once teaching inspirational speeches with Year 10 and being almost moved to tears by their own emotional response to Nick Vujicic’s motivational talk about there being no limits. Opening students’ eyes to the possibilities of the world can be quite an overwhelming feat, but yet we do it anyway.

Why exert such personal elements of yourself into what is after all, just a job? Simply because there is no other way that it can be done. And perhaps I am being rather churlish in dismissing our allegiance to superheroes altogether. If you asked Batman why he is Batman, how would he respond? It is the will and the want that drives us. Any aspiring teacher should draw upon and any practising teacher should raise a smile at the words, “The will is everything. If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely.  Are you ready to begin?”

Says Miss is an English and Drama teacher, in her second year of teaching. Coordinator of Teachmeet Leicester, Workshop facilitator for NTCL, freelance resource content writer for BBC Bitesize amongst others. Follow @SaysMiss on twitter or check out her brilliant blog here.

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