Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Teaching Teenagers

Now this isn't going to be a rant. I am not going to mention the Gove man. I am not going to moan and I am not going to be negative. Recently there has been some amazing you tube videos on those topics. And some heartbreaking facebook statuses. I am going to talk about teaching. And why I love it.

I got into teaching a decade ago now. I came into a bit later than other students on the course after a failed attempt to be a Public Relations executive (in short, I was crap at it). I'll be honest I kinda blagged my way onto a Religious Education PGCE course at the University of Birmingham. I turned up on the first day, with my nice new snazzy stationary not having a bloody clue what I was letting myself in for. You see I am a product of an all girls grammar school. Yes I took the 11 plus, passed and to the grand old age of 18 I went to a school where the concept of teaching was dictation, copying out of textbooks, in silence. We wore a perfect uniform. We never wagged school (OK I did once, but I was 17 and it was to go and see Take That), we never swore at teachers and we certainly didn't fight. Imagine Hogwarts. But minus the magic.


I'm not sure if this is why for my first placement my tutor sent me to an inner city school, with a pass rate at the (very) bottom end of the spectrum. First day. Someone threw a chair. Threw. A. Chair. At a teacher, not even another pupil! Oh and a student called me fat. I went home and cried. This was no grammar school, where you were a bit risky if you wore a black bobble instead of a blue one. No, this was real life (oh get me I sound all Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds).

During the course of the year I found that despite my rather privileged education I really enjoyed working with pupils who may not necessarily be the brightest, or richest. I started my career in a Black Country secondary school and have remained there ever since. And here is the reason why I love teaching. Teenagers. Yes teenagers. Whenever I tell people my job, they say "oh what age?" and I reply "11 to 16" and wait for the response of "rather you than me!". Literally every time. No-one ever says oh I bet that is fun or I bet you enjoy that. No everyone presumes that someone has forced me to be a teacher. Made me teach teenagers and I can't ever escape. Ever.


I have news for you my friends. Teenagers? Hilarious. Brilliant creatures. Sometimes they make me howl with laughter. And no I am not laughing at them. But with them. You see they are in this weird part of life where they are growing up to be young adults. But they still have glimpses of that innocence of childhood. You can one minute be talking about how they fancy Harry Styles and then in a flash they are telling you conspiracy theories about 911. Nine times out of ten they are ready and willing to learn. Yes I have seen chairs thrown, tables chucked, been told to "fuck off", had pupils puke in lessons, weep in lessons and seen many of them storm off because I dared to ask them to take their coat off. But generally? They are ace.

The reason I became a teacher is because I wanted an escape, I wanted the holidays and I wanted an easy life. I quickly found out that the paperwork is relentless, the marking is never ending and the new performance related pay is terrifying. But the reason I, and many other people stay in teaching, despite all of this, is the children. I'm not going to be all worthy and say "I want to make a difference" and yes that is a by product and a bloody brilliant one at that. But basically I am here saying it loud and proud. Yes I work in a secondary school. Yes I work with teenagers. And yes. They are amazing. So there.

                                                          #AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party Mama and More

21 comments:

  1. I'm a secondary teacher too and I totally agree with you. I've only been teaching 4 years and there have been plenty of times where I've despaired! I've had tables and chairs thrown and been sworn at too, but like you say, most of them do want to learn and are quite often hilarious! Being on maternity leave has really made me miss my job, I'm really looking forward to going back after the summer.

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    1. They are great aren't they do have their moments though!!! xxx

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  2. Aww, this is so inspiring! It's so lovely to hear the positive side of teaching for a change.. I think i'd have loved you to be my teacher - enthusiasm and a real heart for the pupils is half the battle isn't it? It's a tough job, and some days are wearing, but i do remember it very fondly - teenagers are hilarious! Lovely post poppet xx

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    1. Thanks lovely. I do really enjoy it. Sometimes I do have bad days and they can be horrid but on the whole they are lovely. Some 20yr old ex pupils popped into see my yesterday. It was great! xxx

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  3. How wonderful to read about the positive side of teaching!
    Sounds like a wonderful job.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it. It is a lovely job xxx

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  4. Well, isn't; this a lovely change from the usual moaning and groaning in education! (I was a primary school teacher pre babies!) You sound like an amazing teacher - someone with a real heart for the job - and that's what you need! Cause we sure as heck aren't in it for the pay. Great post. Your students are very lucky to have you x

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    1. Defo not in it for the pay! But I do enjoy the holidays a lot. I do love it but I'm sure the kids don't realise it half of the time xxx

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  5. I agree 100%. I taught High school at a ghetto school and although there were parts of it that I disliked very much, I loved the students. I miss it. I'm at home with the kiddos now. Thanks for sharing this great post. It brought back the memories. I'm glad I found you at #AllAboutYou link party.

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    1. I'm so lucky to be part time so I get the best of both worlds! xxx

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  6. So glad to see that you enjoy teaching teenagers. My two oldest are in high school and I like to think their teachers enjoy working with that age group. I know I definitely appreciate teenagers more now that I have some of my own. You sound like a teacher everyone wants! :) #allaboutyou

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    1. I bet they have teachers who love teaching them. It takes a certain kind of person who wants to work with teens. One with a similar sense of humour! xxx

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  7. Really great post. I hope my kids get a teacher like you when they go to secondary school.

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  8. Love reading this - teenagers get such a bad press. Yep some are tough going, but some are simply wonderful xx

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    1. Don't get me wrong. Some are horrors! Ha ha ha xxx

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  9. Fab post, and I agree with you on everything. I love working with teenagers, they're hilarious, and the reason why I do my job!
    Yesterday I ended up with a only a handful of my year 11's as the rest were in their History exam. They go from chatting about bubble baths (and this was the boys) to discussing teenage drug problems. I love how honestly they speak at their age!

    Fab post xxx

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    1. I love my year 11s so much! They have their last class tomorrow which makes me so so sad. But it is time for them to go. They are at that bit where they just want to run away and grow up. And who can blame them??? xxx

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  10. Fantastic post! I have a few friends who teach, mainly in primary, so quite different. You sound like just the kind of teacher that teenagers need - I hope mine come across someone like you one day x Thanks for linking this to #AllAboutYou

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it lovely. I do love it. They have their off days (let's not talk about last Friday!) but on the whole they are amazing xxx

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  11. I have just stumbled across this post while I was being nosey on your Pinterest. This is so refreshing to read. I am a school librarian (also in a black country school) and I love it. I took the job because I needed to move back to brum asap even though I'd always said I'd never work with teens. I thought I'd be moving on in 6 months, 6 years later I'm still there. I love it and I love the kids! Its so nice to read something that is so positive about our 'troublesome teens' :)

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