A Real Teacher? Ask them…

I had a wonderful moment in my classroom last week… one of those times that money can’t buy and you get a real sense of what this whole thing is all about.

Earlier on this year we had a wonderful trainee teacher in the school. He was a really nice bloke who fit in well with the staff and his department… and by all accounts, a fantastic teacher. Ask my son… he came home regularly buzzing on his lessons and informed me that he was one of the best teachers in the school, in his opinion.

Well… last week the trainee in the spotlight got the chance for a job interview for a permanent position at our school. I was routing for him… personally, I thought that our Senior Team would have a screw loose not to appoint him, but you never know!

So I bumped into him in our staff room about 15 minutes after his interview and he was still waiting for the verdict. I said, “Pop into my classroom and let me know…” Then I started teaching my wonderful Year 11 History class – one of the best set of students I’ve ever had! 20 minutes into my lesson, he popped his head through the door with a big smile and a raised thumb with the words, “Got it.”

At that moment, my year 11 class erupted with cheers and loud applause. I turned to him, he was clearly a little overwhelmed, and said, “So you teach this lot as well?”

He looked around the room, thanked the class humbly and said, “Yes, I do.” And with that, he was gone – hopefully for a well deserved celebration.

We live in a world now where we are judged every step of the way. We produce reams of paperwork to justify our existence, collect evidence to show those in power that we are not the wishy-washy, holiday-enjoying, 6-hour-day, unprofessionals that the media and some from the Government would lead many to believe. Our biggest critics often come from the ranks of our society that know nothing about what we do, really, but claim their expertise on our profession. Well, guess what? I had just witnessed a judgement from the real experts. And they were not cheering because this person was an easy ride, or let them get away with what they wanted to do. This applause came from a bunch of experts who had experienced the changes in the English education system first hand; that had experienced a wide array of teachers – good and not so good. They were in the twilight of their academic lives in secondary education and they knew a great teacher when they saw one and made it clear with their applause because they’d run through a wall for this teacher. This teacher inspired and interested each and every pupil and squeezed every ounce of ability out of them. This person was a teacher. There are more like this person. I should know, I work with them. The kids should know – they applaud them! Maybe we need to celebrate them more because for me, it was a great moment worthy of sharing.

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