What's it like to be a primary school teacher? (Part 2)

Day in the life of Courtney, Primary School Teacher (Part 2)

In our last post we found out a bit about what it’s like to be a primary school teacher. Today we delve into the best and worst parts, a common misconception about teachers and a super cute story.

What do you love and not love about the job?

While my early responses to these questions might sound like it’s a tough career, that’s because it is. However just because things are tough, doesn’t mean you don’t love them whole heartedly. The list of things I love about my profession is endless. The light bulb moment when a student finally gets something, the times when students want to just talk or be around you because of the impression you’ve made on them and also just the fact that someone is entrusting you with responsibility of teaching their child and guiding them as they grow as a person are just a few of the biggest positives.

At times, a lot of times, being a teacher is completely mentally, physically and emotionally taxing. However, many jobs can drain you like that, so I wouldn’t necessarily put that as something that is overly unique for teachers alone. I guess lack of appreciation would be something many teachers would feel quite a lot and not love. This can be from parents who don’t truly understand how much time you’re devoting to their child even outside of a 9:00-3:30 teaching day, colleagues who don’t seem to put in or acknowledge the effort you’re putting in, individuals in managerial positions who keep adding to your workload without understanding what is already happening in your classroom, and also some students who don’t understand that you are not there to babysit or punish them, you’re trying to help them become the best student and person they can be.


What’s something that people may not know about the job?

I guess the classic misconception for a lot of people is teachers arrive just before 9:00am and leave shortly after 3:30pm. Every teacher is very different in their own routines, however there is probably not one teacher out there that comes and goes regularly at these times. There is nothing stopping you if you wanted to, but when would you assess the students work? When would you plan your units and activities? When would you organise and setup your classroom? When would your staff meetings (where most schools have at least two a week) take place? When would you communicate with parents about their child?

For most teachers, all this happens outside of 9:00am and 3:30pm because, surprise surprise, during that time you are teaching the students.

Tell us a funny work story

This is another one where there are probably just too many examples and most may only be humorous for teachers. It’s the stuff kids say without meaning to be funny, the times they make spelling or drawing errors that lead too hilarious (and sometimes very inappropriate) work, the moments where you’re dealing with a challenging student or a young student who has had “an accident”, and while at the time you’re about to break, the next year it becomes one of your favourites stories to tell over and over to your colleagues.

Credit: Bored Panda

Credit: Bored Panda

While not a funny story, one of my favourite stories is a sweet one. I had a car accident one day and I had to take my car in to be repaired. I missed a day and my neighbouring teacher told my students the reason I was away. The next day I came in there was a soft toy car on my desk. It was from one of my students and she told me that since I didn’t have my car at that time because it was being fixed, I could borrow hers until I got mine back. Moments like these and also the nice things, both students and parents, say about the positive impact you have had on a child make everything worth it.

My responses have probably made it sound like teachers have it so very tough. Which they do. However, I’m not comparing the stresses of my career to anyone else’s or claiming we are some high all mighty profession that has it so much harder than everyone else. The truth is I love my job! It really is a privilege to get to do what I do. One day is never the same as another and anyone who has worked in an industry where you get the opportunity to assist, help, guide or educate others will agree that the satisfaction you get from certain moments can’t be measured. I’ll end with one of my favourites quotes I once heard about how teachers sometimes forget to look at their own role:

“I don’t have to teach children, I get to teach children.”