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The similarities between Christmas and teaching

There’s no doubt that Christmas is often seen as one of the best times of the year. Despite the wintry weather and depleting bank accounts, it’s a time when the stresses and strains experienced over the course of a busy year can be put to one side. Everyone traditionally comes together to exchange gifts, spend time with friends and families while rejoicing in the festive cheer.

As we approach the New Year, we can all start to reflect on the past 12 months and put plans in place to try and make our lives less stressful. At Eteach, we’ve noticed that the teaching profession and Christmas have far more in common than you might realise. Here are a few of our thoughts…

Spreading joy and happiness

Close your eyes and think about a Christmas memory. All too often it should (we hope) put a smile to your face and take you back to a happy time, whether that was receiving a present at the top of your Christmas list or remembering laughter shared over a long Christmas dinner. We believe that the Christmas spirit is contagious and in an ideal world should be felt 365 days of the year. As Eleanor Roosevelt famously suggested ‘happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product’. We’re not remotely suggesting that teachers carry out a form of comedic act, but the best teachers instill a sense of contentment, pride and happiness in their students.

Bringing out the best in people

Whilst the religious side of Christmas is still actively celebrated around the world, in many households Christmas is primarily about bringing people together. Teaching is no different. The art of teaching is a fine skill to perfect, something that comes through experience, rather than being a natural gift that one is born with.

The best teachers have an ability to propel the overall performance and therefore the life changes of everyone within their classes. They have a capacity to successfully overcome academic, cultural and language differences for the students in their control. Charles Kuralt, a famous American journalist, suggested that ‘good teachers know how to bring out the best in their students’. A simple statement that we believe is so true.

Making dreams come true

The Christmas period is the stuff of fairy tales and mystical legends, with the whole concept of flying reindeer, magical elves and good old Father Christmas himself (sorry to all you believers). When you’re a child, the whole year can lead up to Christmas day, with parents often subtly encouraging good behaviour by suggesting ‘if you’re good then you’ll get…’.

I certainly remember sleepless nights over my informative years waiting in anticipation of being on the receiving end of a fancy present or two. Christmas shouldn’t be seen simply as a time to receive gifts but also a period in which you can reflect. However, it’s the physical gifts received when you’re young that also enable you to fulfill the dreams you have. Eddie the Eagle would have received a pair of skis at some time in his life, Chris Boardman a bicycle and Jane Torvill a set of ice skates. Teachers don’t go to their classes with a sack full of presents to hand out, but with every lesson they impart intangible skills or small nuggets of knowledge that over the course of a term, year or phase combine to create a well-rounded individual with the potential to better their lives.

An unattributed Chinese proverb, states that “learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” The successful achievement of goals that people possess, wouldn’t be possible without the support and guidance of the teachers they had during the years they spent at school. Life is about dreams and ambition; a teacher helps to make them come true.

Whatever your plans over the coming weeks, everyone at Eteach hopes you have a fantastic break during the Christmas holidays. The education sector has experienced a challenging year so far, let’s hope 2017 is a successful year for you and your students!

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