Teachers stick at their roles, many working from the end of university to retirement in the profession, never stepping outside the education field.
Further, most teachers I know commit themselves 100 per cent to their job.
Teaching is personal. It becomes more than a job and can be all-consuming.
For many it becomes life itself and it is easy for one’s identity to become wrapped up in what one does.
The statement “I am a teacher” is more than a descriptor of employment, it embraces what is for many, a way of life, a reason for living.
Teachers are dedicated to their roles, and work countless hours beyond what is required to provide the best educational outcomes for student.
Parents and members of the community often don’t see this, focusing instead on teachers having too many holidays! Having said this, I think it is important to keep things in perspective.
Teaching is what we do, not who we are, and we must ensure that we keep the two separate.
We have lives, hopefully full of meaning and significance, outside of our careers, and need to remind ourselves that teaching is a job, just as delivering furniture, or working in a factory may be for others.
We should also remember that our loyalty to the profession we dedicate our lives to is not necessarily returned. I say this having closely watched numerous teachers retire, hard-working, brilliant teachers, forced to leave schools they have devoted years to due to “in excess” numbers based decisions, and others who merely become scapegoats for poor student performance.
Many grapple with issues around rejection, selfdoubt, feelings of inadequacy, and ask themselves have their efforts been worthwhile. It would be great if our education system rewarded loyalty and dedication.
If there was a way teacher commitment could be acknowledged at a more corporate level.
Sure, teachers retire and often have school based functions, but it sometimes seems too little given the length of service and time spent in hours (which is often above and beyond the requirements of the teaching award).
I am not sure we do enough to honour our long serving teachers. In saying all this, let’s remember to keep life in balance.
To dedicate time to the other things in our lives that are important; family, partners, friends, hobbies, interests, and pursuing a healthful lifestyle.
When we attend to these we automatically keep our working lives in perspective, and the balance is healthy.