I Left The Brutal World Of Teaching Behind, This Is My Message To Those Who've Stayed

Seven years ago, I left the teaching profession and can honestly say I’ve never looked back.

I don’t say this out of disrespect to teachers, I say this for the opposite reason; complete and utter respect and absolute adoration.

Putting it quite simply, these women and men are the underpinning of our society and of its future. They are our educational leaders who are teaching our children, helping them learn essential knowledge, skills and values and shaping them for their future.

And there is nothing more important than that.

For Shona, it was difficult to leave the teaching profession. Image: Supplied

For me, leaving teaching was a hard decision to make. There were times I felt pride and satisfaction in helping young people learn.

There's nothing like watching a student's expressions change as they finally realised they've understood that elusive piece of information or skill they had been trying to master. That wondrous look of ‘I get it’ in their eye is something not many professions offer and it is an incredible feeling to experience.

But despite this, there is a steep mountain of inherent challenges that are stacked up against 99 per cent of teachers. They were just too hard for me to endure both emotionally and professionally.

So after five years, like so many others, I left teaching behind. But many of my colleagues that worked alongside me are still there. They continue doing a job that not just anyone can do and they are truly amazing.

So for them and every other teacher standing in an ever changing classrooms, I commend you and I celebrate all you do. Here is my message for you this World Teacher’s Day.

I want you to know, that there are people out there, like me, who know the truth about teaching, its challenges and complexity. We appreciate you and all that you do so very much.

I want you to know that not all of us pass off your job as 'easy', not all of us think that you work minimal hours in a 9am to 3pm job and that you get months of holidays per year. Please know that many of us also scoff when those people ask you -- how hard can it be?

Shona has seen both sides as both a former teacher and a parent. Image: Supplied

It is quite evident to us that this group of people have no idea about teaching. None. We know that you don’t just walk into a classroom with the lesson miraculously planned and organised out of thin air.

We understand the resources needed to look after and nurture a class of 25 students who are all receptive and eager to learn. Comrades, we know the truth.

We know you spend hours, days and months thinking, researching, planning and organising each and every little thing in your students' day. Put simply, it takes a lot of hard work and even more so to do it well.

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Teachers, I also want you to know we understand so many of you are dealing with not only the pressures of student outcomes, of testing and of reviews but also possibly the worst challenge of the profession -- you are dealing with the ‘pressure parents'.

So, for all the teachers who have those parents. The ones who call you, email you, message you on apps, pop in to see you because their child is more special than the rest of the hundreds you teach, we understand.

They are also the same ones that expect all of your spare time (that you have none of) is spent monitoring their child, doing extra for their child and then relaying this back to the them on a daily basis.

We understand and we appreciate you.

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We know you do the best you can to fulfill these unrealistic expectations of these high-pressure parents and the students you teach. We know you genuinely care and want the best for all of them. And we know how impossibly exhausting it is to achieve the imperfect balance of all of this.

Finally, to my fellow teachers, the incredibly, intelligent, compassionate, underpaid, overworked, ever attacked and rarely supported or thanked, the teachers that despite all of these arduous challenges still love their jobs, I want to say:

Thank you.

Saturday 5th of October is World Teacher's Day, make sure to say thanks to a teacher in your life.

Featured image: Supplied