My why?

At the end of last term, my parents came to stay. As always, it was great to see them and catch up on a variety of things. It was during one of our chats that my dad dropped a surprising statement… “We [Mum and Dad] were quite surprised when you said you wanted to be a teacher”.  I instantly knew what he was referring to- it was no secret in our house that I hated high school. Something changed between primary school and college where I just wasn’t that into school. The amount of times I got in trouble for not doing classwork or homework at high school is too many to count. I didn’t consider myself a bad student and looking back, I still don’t. Sometimes it was classic teenage laziness but for the most part I just wasn’t interested in what most of my teachers were peddling, not to mention how they were peddling it.

Looking back, it’s no surprise that my parents were confused by my decision to enter teacher training. However, hating school was actually the reason I wanted to be a teacher. Sounds weird, I know. But even as a 7th form/Year 13 student, I could tell that school could be a better experience than what it had been for me. I wanted to make a difference for students much like myself.


The only reasonable school snap I could find tonight

Of the 50+ teachers I had throughout my 13 years of school, there were 3 teachers that really made a difference in my life. The reason- I felt that they genuinely cared. They found out what interested me and they made connections, especially through humour. Because of this, I enjoyed being in their class and made an effort to do my best.

The brief, yet important conversation with my folks couldn’t have been more timely. As teachers, I think most of us have moments where we get bogged down and lose sight of why we’re doing what we’re doing- it was great to be reminded. To be fair my ‘Why’ is not quite as simple as I’ve made it sound but its core has remained the same.

What is your why?


About Jo Smith

Health & PE teacher and TIC Outdoor Education at Aotea College.
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