I touch the future. I teach.

I don’t know whether you have ever looked for a specific quote on the internet, or for a quote about a theme you are interested in, and experienced the shear amount of brilliant, eccentric, and sometimes downright nonsensical waffle that people have come up with over the past [insert generically long time-frame here] years. I’ve had difficulty coming up with a title for this post, and so I decided to look up quotes about teaching, and it reminded me just how many of these sorts of quotes relate to knowledge, learning, education, and therefore teaching.

I have finally got into the swing of teaching and can safely say it is an enjoyable experience. It took a while to get past the nerves at the beginning of each lesson, a bit of time to understand the dynamic of different classes, and an age to work out the careful balance between praise and punishment, but I think I am getting there.

The students seems to like me, and I think it is half the battle. I say they like me, they run up to me when i arrive at school and grab my skirt, give me little gifts, and attempt to say something in their best English. When I am sitting at my desk I can quite often hear the students singing English songs that I have taught them in their classes (bless them, they are subjected to my woeful singing voice more often than they should be!) so that must mean that they are liking and learning some things in their lessons. That’s definitely 65% of the battle won right away.

The thing I am still struggling with is punishment. The school appears to allow hitting the children, which I really don’t like, and I hate the fact that the others teachers encourage me to do so. Some hit the students with rulers and everything. They’re only little, and besides, it doesn’t seem to work, they are still naughty as ever. I think the classes as a whole seem noisier and more active here because there are more children in each class, which makes sense really now as I have thought about it. I have mastered (ish) getting them to be quiet and listen for the most part, they despise standing up that much that making them stand for talking/not listening is an awesome threat.

But anyway, yes, the quotes. Just as I was getting into the swing of teaching, I looked at these quotes, and boy are they intimidating. Here is a small sample:

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” William Arthur Ward

“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instil a love of learning.” Brad Henry

“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” Mark Doren

“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” Malala Yousafzai

“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.” Bill Gates

“I touch the future. I teach.” Christa McAuliffe

It is a really scary thought to realise that everything I say and so at school influences the students. And actually, my fellow teachers. I am not teaching something that I ever thought I would thoroughly enjoy or want to pursue, but I am realising that’s not the case. I love science and geography, books and art, and I would love to teach about them in the future, but I never thought about languages. English is so important out here, it literally changes the opportunities that are presented to the students in further life. I know all subjects do, because all school results matter, but in a country where tourism and industry are so important, being able to Speak some English gets you places.

I am seriously thinking about going into teaching when I get back to England. I’ve mentioned before that I have little idea as to what type of teaching, but I can’t really see myself doing anything else anymore (I know, I’ve only been teaching 6 weeks!) I have been talking to friends back at home who are studying and/or looking for jobs, and I just do not see myself looking for a job outside of teaching anymore. It’s such a shame it involves going back to University.

I never really considered teaching when I was younger, which is strange considering how much I enjoyed being in school and how much I liked some of my teachers. I didn’t think travelling the world would clue me in to future career plans, but it looks like I might have been wrong?! I definitely need to do more experience at home, and of course abroad. Any excuse to travel!

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