One of the things that I’ve been really finding to be a valuable part of getting into education is reading and absorbing other people’s blogs. Some of these blogs are veritable fountains of useful and encouraging information for a new teacher like me; so many things to try and explore, all simply in need of a classroom in which to do it!
But for a pre-service teacher who isn’t even technically out in the “real world” yet, some of the blogs that I’ve come across can feel rather intimidating at times. Not because they are wildly aggressive or preachy, but because the sort of example that they set I think is really hard to live up to! Judging by the tone of some peoples’ blogs, they got into teaching purely to become agitators for change and agents for social justice. At this point I really feel like I’m getting “change the world” fatigue, and am seriously considering unsubscribing from some of these blogs. Every tweet, post and comment about this issue feels like another veiled insult as to my quality as a teacher; that somehow I mustn’t be an authentic teacher if I’m not at the metaphorical picket line in my (meagre) spare time. I’m finding that I really crave the normal voice in the blogosphere – an everyday teacher who struggles through the everyday challenges of getting students to believe in themselves and just learn.
Now at this stage I want to make it clear that I think that part of the role of education is to be a force for positive change in society. However, at this very early stage in my career I don’t really identify as that sort of teacher. Part of what drew me to teaching in the first place was the idea that I simply love to teach; I love to inspire curiosity and delight students, especially in subjects that many consider to be pure torture. I love to see their attitudes start to shift towards enjoying and understanding chemistry. I think that my “mission statement” (if you like) is summed up in these four words – “I get it now!”. If I achieve that then I feel like I’ve been successful, and I’ve heard it enough by now to really feel like I’m making a difference as a teacher.