Teaching is a funny profession. You are asked to be responsible for the intellectual, social, and even moral development of a group of children. In many cases you spend more time with them than they will spend with their parents in a given day. You are expected to remain clam and controlled even in the face of verbal and physical attack. You need to know how to ties shoelaces quickly and efficiently.
Having lunch with an old friend from teacher’s college, I was reminded of the fact that there is very little that the Bachelor of Education program can do to prepare you for these challenges.
But I did learn a few things back in school, when I was ostensibly learning to educate children:
- Gym is more fun as an adult than it ever was as a kid. Mind you, this is coming from someone that was always terrible in gym, always picked last for every game, and frequently mocked by all of the students in class, including the nerds. I rediscovered the joy of dodgeball in teachers college, but that mostly came from the fact that there were always a few middle-aged, “second-career” types out there that were easy to hit.
- The phrase “don’t reinvent the wheel” has talismanic power in the profession of education. I say this because I heard it repeated to me by every single professor, every day, right up to the graduating ceremonies. No one wants to actually use the word “copying,” but then again the US government prefers “collateral damage” to “accidentally blowing up kids and stuff.” Of course, every teacher I know has been more than willing to throw every page of their hard-made resources to me if I so much as mention that I am a teacher, so I suggest that the phrase be recoined as “find someone with an extra wheel and barter for it with a pint of beer.”
- Whistles are magic. I don’t know why it is that almost any kid, when hearing a whistle being blown, will stop and turn to see where it has come from, ceasing their game/vandalism/beating immediately. It is a bizarre phenomenon that everyone should try some day. I once broke up a fight during one of my placements simply by blowing a whistle at two brawling kids from thirty feet away. God bless you, Fox 40.
- Tuesday is a terrible day to charge $2.25 for bottles of Sol and Tequila Sunrises. Students are broke, and students pursuing a second degree after realizing that their first degree won’t get them anywhere in life are especially broke. Drinking makes the feelings of being broke go away, and drinking for cheap makes them go away really quickly. “Tequila Tuesdays” at the campus pub may be a proud tradition, but it has caused many a vicious midweek hangover.
- Wednesday morning is an even worse day to have music class. Imagine the joy of arriving at your 8:45 class of 40 grownups with limited musical talent and one recorder each. The ensemble pieces of “Hot Cross Buns” squealed out in all the notes of the scale of crap are bad enough to hear on the best morning, and they certainly didn’t get any better when you were trying to figure out how many times you did that “jam-the-lime-wedge-in-the-neck-of-the-beer-bottle-and-flip-it-over-without-spraying-yourself-with-foam-after” manoeuvre the night before.