Teachers are enthusiastic and dynamic, highly intelligent and share a passion for wanting to make a difference in this world. They can also be quirky however and this is as a result of there being no other job like theirs. They become a breed apart from the rest of the working world in many respects, living in Teacherland and driving themselves towards a goal of ongoing improvement. With that in mind, I hope they will find something here that is recognisable within themselves. It is their ability to laugh at themselves, reflect and develop that I admire most.
1. Teachers are partial to coffee – and cake come to think of it. The morning wouldn’t be the same without the caffeine fix. This is in part because as the academic year goes on, the tiredness felt becomes extreme. Teachers on the whole do not like to take time off ‘sick’ and so they use the wake up juice of life to kick start their day. The cake in the staffroom is always sure to bring a gaggle of teachers to the table. Despite protests of cutting down their sugar intake, teachers can rarely resist the lure of cake.
2. Teachers tend to hoard things. ‘Just in case’ they need them in the future. One teacher I know now forces herself to resist that temptation having managed to collect the equivalent of a freight train carrier worth of resources that sat redundant for a year. They can’t help themselves but to wonder, will there come a time when those resources might be useful…
3. In the summer term, teachers often find themselves sporting a ‘teacher tan’. The sun will get to their faces and arms. The teacher tan is deceptive. It creates a healthy look at first glance that might fool civvies into thinking they have already been on holiday. This will only have been as far as the school field for Sports Day or local field trip however.
4. Teachers have a ‘teacher voice’. Not necessarily a shouting, loud voice, but a voice that denotes that they have their ‘teacher head’ on. Oh yes they have a ‘teacher head’ too… Once in ‘teacher’ mode, watch them fly. The face, the voice, the body language all fall into play.
5. Teachers have the ability to see the funny side of life. They are prepared to make fools of themselves for the benefit of their students and the learning. No onesie is too silly and no end of term pantomime or ‘staff have talent’ show is beyond them. They have a great sense of humour to the end.
6. Teachers tend to be seen as workaholics. In fact they are geeks – and proud. They love reading and they love learning and a good job too. If they didn’t, where would we be?! They can’t help themselves. The list is never ending and the drive to succeed and do their best pushes them to give that bit more than would normally be expected. They don’t intentionally put their jobs first, it is simply that they are highly committed individuals who set themselves standards above and beyond what is often considered reasonable. Maybe this is why they talk of a calling to the profession.
7. Teachers are flexible. Not in the yoga sense. They have the ability to think on their feet. Whether it be coming off plan in a lesson, juggling timetables or cover, they can adapt their thinking to change a situation. Resourceful most of the time, they can often be handy to have around!
8. Teachers can carry 4 bags, a pile of books, a cup of coffee and still open doors. It’s a multi-tasking gift.
9. Teachers are naturally sociable animals. They do love to chat. I think this comes from a lack of adult company during their working day. It can be lonely in a classroom sometimes and for as much as teachers love their students, very often there is no substitute for a quick chat – some often say it is too much ‘shop talk’… They can’t help it.
10. Teachers love stationery. They are stationery addicts! Sharpies, highlighters and post-its. They will often buy new stationery whilst out and about just because they cannot help themselves. And as for a new diary or notebook at the start of the school year… don’t get me started!
11. Bonus: Teachers make lists. Yes they do. They can’t help themselves.
When it comes down to it, teachers are human. They work hard, play hard and push themselves beyond their own limits.
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