I’m not really serious enough to be a teacher.
I get distracted during class when the sun shines, or if there’s a sudden rainfall outside my window. I’ve been known to take out my phone and take photos of sudden weather in the middle of a sentence. I lipread my students’ conversations (they know I do it) and react to them. I’ve rolled my eyes at kids before, when they’ve called me over to ask a ridiculous question. I crack up at their stupid jokes and have actually done a spit-take in class when a kid mimic’d a goat. I threaten them with “NO PANDAS” on occasion, and swoon over John Green and David Attenborough and BBC Planet Earth’s musical score and goats.
I do get serious though. I swear. I can let them work quietly and walk around the room checking that they’re getting on with it. I can give real feedback. I can plan lessons where they just work. I can do these things. I can push them. I can.
I just don’t really like the quiet classes much. I prefer chaos. Zoos. Kids shouting about how to start a war with Britain because they don’t want to pay taxes without representation. Kids suggesting effective methods of disenfranchising a population. Kids creating costumes to re-tell stories. Kids learning that palm oil is in toothpaste and Oreos and being appalled. Kids wanting to know more more more about what ethical trade is and especially what unethical trade might be.
I’m grateful to my teachers past and present, and to my schools, past and present, for helping me to realize these things. For allowing me to experiment with different teacher hats and trust me that I won’t mess things up too badly. I’ll try to grow up a bit in class, I promise. I’ll put on my serious hat more often. I’ll try to act like the responsible adult in the classroom, not the inciter of controlled chaos.
I’ll try. I am almost 30 after all… it’s about time.