Friday, October 01, 2010
this is why.
A few weeks ago I started a course that will train me to be a teacher. I have talked before about how it has taken me a long time to reach the decision to go into teaching, and I still have a lot of questions now, as to whether it was the right move.
Yesterday we had a lecture entitled The Creative Curriculum. The man giving the lecture has been a headteacher for twenty years, and working in the education system for thirty years. For some reason, the venue for our lecture was a Church. Our lecturer was not a man of faith in God, but was, very clearly a man of faith in education & children. He quipped, 'I am proud to say that I am standing in a Church, not evangelising about God, but I will definitely be evangelising about education.'
While, from my perspective as a Christian, it would have been wonderful if he had the faith to do both, but even so, I have to say that he was brilliant.
Here was a man who had been shunned from the education system himself during Primary School, expelled for being obnoxious, now speaking very passionately about his love for the children and staff in his school. He defined for us a turning point for him which was all thanks to a teacher he had in sixth form. One day, this teacher changed the heart of a sixteen year old boy who had been deeply affected by his school experience, by responding to him in a way that no other teacher ever had. He made him feel that his soul mattered. That sixteen year old boy was the man who was now standing in front of 140 teachers-to-be, telling us that we need to give to teaching the things that we love.
During my time at university, when it was summer exam season, I would travel up to Stoke on Trent with my good friend Lizzie to stay with her parents while we revised. I remember reading a quote that hung from a mobile in her dining room which read,
Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do it because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
I so desperately wanted to find what it was that makes me come alive so that I might be able to use what I have in some way to make a difference. As I sat and listened today about how as teachers we need to be seeing the impact of our teaching as aiming to grow young children into oak trees, memories of teaching children came back to me; of times when I taught them how to cook & I felt truly alive, my eyes alight with excitement that the children in front of me were learning and loving what I was teaching them; of times when the whole class sat wide-eyed & captivated as I told them stories that were so tangible it felt like we were a part of them; of times where I was able to show a child in some small way that they mattered, that they are brilliant & that their heart is precious. These are the moments that make me want to teach.
In that moment of listening to a seasoned teacher tell me that what children need is for me to give of myself, I remembered that this is what makes me come alive. The giving of myself & all that I love that I might in some small way help children to love learning & love exploring the world that is at their fingertips; to give children confidence to know that they can learn and grow & love the process.
I know that there will be many children that I fail. There will be time after time that I fall short, that I don't give my all and I leave children with bad memories. But my hope is that for the most part, the education of the children in my care will be enjoyable & character building.