Summer has nearly arrived and with it comes the end of the school year (this week for us folks here in N. Ireland). It’s a time when teachers get to smile and wave goodbye, happily passing the baton to ‘delighted’ parents for the next 2 months. I tend to feel a sense of envy towards my teacher friends at this time of year. The thought of spending the summer months at home with the family, without the usual worries of child-care and the day-to-day juggling, is appealing, but when I take time to consider the role of the teacher throughout the school year, my envy quickly fades.
Teaching must be such hard work! Continually seeking to create a challenging and nurturing environment for students (even on a Monday morning) has to be difficult, never mind remaining enthusiastic and up beat when in reality many students are the complete opposite.
A good teacher's role involves more than simply standing in front of a classroom and lecturing. An effective teacher understands that teaching involves wearing multiple hats to ensure that the school day runs smoothly and all students receive a quality education. As parents, we trust our children into a teacher’s care on a daily basis, and depend on them to provide a positive role model in our absence.
Perhaps the most important roles teachers fill involve interacting with students, our children. Teachers must be leaders in the classroom and in the school, earning the respect of students and setting a good example. They must be disciplinarians, doling out fair and consistent punishments to students who break the rules. At the same time, teachers must show care and concern for students. A teacher has the power to build up or tear down a student's self-esteem and make a student's day or ruin it in an instant. When interacting with students, a teacher must fill the role of a counselor, a surrogate parent, a nutritionist and someone who has the best interests of every child at heart.
So, to all those exhausted teachers out there – we wish you a great summer of rest and relaxation.
You deserve it!