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To Be Or Not Two Bee?

In his last entry, Dave focused on the importance of a teacher and making the choice to become one. He also mentioned that he didn't do too well in school and was eventually diagnosed as having a learning disability. This entry is about how he came to his own choice to become a teacher in the hope it will help with your own choice.

“To Be”, or not “TWO BEE”? Part 2 of 2

I was already well aware I was not doing as well as my peers by the time I was told I had a learning disability. From the way the teachers handled it, not only was I made to feel “stupid” but everyone in my class became aware of it and started to see me as being the “stupid kid” too (this is why I hated school).

Having completed two university degrees with honours (and winner of a heated trivial pursuit night), I am now quite certain I’m not stupid (though I do stupid things… I once locked myself outside in my underwear while letting the dog out), but getting to this point physiologically took me years. If only a teacher had explained to me when I was a child that even Albert “Genius” Einstein had a learning disability, then maybe I could have realised my own potential sooner.

What I now realise thanks to my parents support growing up is that we all have strengths and weaknesses. I’m really good with math and science, but I struggle to this day with language. Now and then you will likely spot grammatical and spelling mistakes in my blogs, this is why. My learning disability makes it very difficult for me to memorise words and patterns in language. However I always strive to improve on my weaknesses which is one of the reasons I write so often (and started blogging!).

When the notion of becoming a teacher first came about my main reluctance was the fact that I knew I had been a poor student growing up. I was afraid there was just no way I  could possibly be a good teacher when I still make mistakes.

I mentioned in my first entry that on my first day in the classroom I realised not only could I be a teacher but I realised I should be one. The reason was that five minutes into the class a student put up his hand and asked me how to spell a word I didn't know (I was terrified in that moment). “Let’s find out” I replied. I went and got a dictionary and brought it over, then we looked it up together. He then took it from me and continued writing on his own. I watched him reference the dictionary a few more times without needing to put up his hand. I hadn't just taught him the word, I had also taught him how to use a dictionary.

After my first year of teaching I realised this; you do not need to know all the answers to be a good teacher. It’s okay to answer your students with “I don’t know”, however you certainly can’t stop there. You need to then go and find out the answer and you need to find a way to help your students learn it too.

Being a good teacher means being a willing learner too. Use your strengths as much as possible and always try to improve your weaknesses. If you are okay doing this then that is a big indication that you could be a great teacher, just realise it’s a lot of work that will never end.

What made you decide to become a teacher? We would be interested in hearing from you. Please email Megan ( for more information. 

Tags: DaveM, Leicester, Canada

Category: Australian Teachers

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