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Student Development - Short and Long term

What is it that makes us step foot back in the classroom day in day out? Samantha gives her view. 

Student development, short and long term. It’s why we teach!

We often have many, many, many forms to fill in, grades to give and basically hoops to jump through as a teacher. We rush around, miss lunch, worry over children, pull fights apart and often become the punch line ourselves to our students. So why do we teach?

Walking into a classroom with shouting children that if you are a supply may take one look and turn right back to their conversations regardless of your presence, Friday period five and teaching drama! All are enough to put a person off teaching for life so why do we return, week after week, lesson after lesson.

We get to see something and be a part of something that few people are privy to and this includes parents. We get to see students in their natural state, with friends, being themselves and exploring life. The look on a student’s faced when they learn something new or get a question correct. This list could go on and on with teachers having personal favourites.

For me, teaching is being a part of the discovery; giving them the building blocks and seeing them work it out. It guesses you could call it drama therapy which is an area of its own. I have seen student’s resolve conflict, deal with home issues, produce tears of relief that they could finally talk about a subject they had been keeping inside. These students aren’t learning a topic or subject they are learning how to live life and who there are going to be. Their part in the world, their power over it and place within it. They are in a safe and secure environment, mostly confident and sociable, hopefully having not witness the horrors of the world just yet. Me, little drama teacher has access to this, I get to see it, be involved in it and I can influence it. The days when I have had no food, or time for a coffee, sometimes even a toilet break are all made worth it when a student shines in their own individual way.

Watching a student develop is something that happens in front of your eyes on a daily basis yet we hardly notice it. Sometime however it jumps at you and you cannot miss it, it’s in your face and screaming ‘look I just understood what you said and I didn’t before.’ Or it could say ‘this time last year I would have laughed at that, or started talking to my friend but this year I am paying attention.’ My favourite is when a student grows physically as well as mentally at the same time. They step in the classroom after a school holiday looking a foot taller and turn to you and say ‘good morning miss.’ With a sense of self confidence that seems to appear overnight.

When I am sat at midnight hunched over my laptop, friends snap chatting me images of their nights out and I am laboriously placing numbers in boxes and trying to think of an interesting way to say ‘they are progressing well’ I remember that student who suddenly changed in my presence. It somehow makes it worth it and much in the way parents imagine what they child might become I love to guess in my mind where the students will be in ten years’ time.

On the reverse as a supply teacher who doesn’t stick with the same children for long periods of time you get to see this children through non-judgemental eyes. You didn’t know them as a loud and chatty year seven student who just wouldn’t sit still. You see the young adult sat quietly helping one of his many friends with a question. You see the young women who offers insight and knowledge to a topic with and engaged and excited mind not the shy little girl that stepped through the gate her blazer a size too big.

You are new to them and they are new to you. They haven’t seen the time you just couldn’t get a class to listen or the time you had to google an answer. You can be the cool teacher that gets to chat to them whilst covering their lesson. They have never had detention with you, parents evening or a letter sent home with your signature on it. You are their ideal teacher, use this to you advantage and every lesson will be fun (or at least a higher average.)

What do you see the classes you teach? What is it that makes you proud to be a teacher? Email your thoughts to Megan ( 

Tags: Samantha, Bromley, Secondary, drama, supply, daily, teacher

Category: Australian Teachers

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