One of the most important professionsBack
“Adolescence is the period between childhood and adulthood encompassed by changes in physical, psychological, and social development” - Ernst M. 2006
The first question you might ask is ‘How does this relate to my role as a teacher?’
The experiences that teenagers have as their brain changes are absolutely fundamental- they help shape their attitudes, personalities and opinion; in 2017 the secondary school population rose to 2.80 million, and the majority of these students will be experiencing psychological changes. As an adolescent myself, I can confirm that the teachers both during my secondary education, as well as my Sixth Form education helped me grow both psychologically and socially into the happy individual I am today. I always felt nurtured, treated not as a grade producing robot, but as an actual person, who was adjusting to the pressures of becoming an adult.
With all teenagers, undeniably, we all act selfishly because of the chemical imbalances in our brains. We feel as though our issues are more important than anyone else’s. It is our teachers that we see every day, become friends with, and learn from that pull us back into reality, and make us realise that we are all in the same boat. With human knowledge increasing every year, the introduction of new exam boards, the level of teaching and learning is a lot higher than ever before. As a teenager, trying to deal with the stress of achieving the right grades is not something you can do alone. Whether it is the 11+, GCSE’s, A-levels, or IB you absolutely would not be able to succeed without a teacher. Therefore I feel the responsibility of an educator is greatly undervalued. Taking on the role of a surrogate parent when a pupil feels upset or alone, being the warrior that battles those students who know best, whilst feeling passionate and enthusiastic about their lessons and of course assuming the role of an admin expert whilst marking countless essays is something to feel extremely proud of.
These days, your grades seem to mean everything, they allow you into secondary education, and then sixth form or college, then eventually into a work placement or University. Ultimately a teenage brain reacts differently to how an adult brain does, and sometimes it is very challenging to cope with the pressures of education. It was my teacher that stayed hours after school with me to help me understand what a vector was. It was my teacher that comforted me when I told them I was scared of the future. It was my teacher that praised me and filled me with confidence before my first ever GCSE. It was my teacher that gave up every lunchtime to reteach year of RE I had previously missed. I honestly can say that I will never forget any of the things my teachers did for me; I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for them, I will always be grateful.
This isn’t just aimed at secondary and sixth form educators, it is for all teachers. My teacher in reception taught me how to read and to write, something that is so important, and something I couldn’t live without. And this isn’t just about me, I speak for many students across both the country; at times you might not feel appreciated by your students or employers, but many in that moment don’t realise how important a teacher is.
My brother at a young age was diagnosed with mild autism and ADHD, therefore he often struggled to feel stimulated, and would often lose interest quickly. However, his teachers were patient with him, trying different teaching methods that he would find engaging, accepting his difficult behaviours and supporting him as he grew. His primary school teachers, as well as his current teachers, have helped him develop into the caring and enthusiastic boy he is today.
Granted, you may have to go the extra mile for some students, but believe me, it makes a huge difference those peoples lives forever, so thank you- your enthusiasm and resilience is admirable. And it is for the reasons above that I feel teaching is one of the most important professions of all.
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