Teaching is unique. There is no other profession (I’ve done a few, and know a few by association, so I speak from experience) where, in the pouring rain, on the way to the car park, two bags in hand, red-faced and half-jogging to try to stop my suit from getting soaked) a colleague would stop her car, wind down the window and shout “how was your first week?”. But no other profession is like teaching.
Sony’s slogan in the noughties was “like.no.other”, and their kit was pretty cool… the VAIO laptops were better than most. But unique, they weren’t, MacBooks were always awesome, and some of the kit from 2010s giants HP and Samsung was already excellent. Sony tried hard to suggest otherwise, but when applied to computers, like.no.other wasn’t entirely accurate.
Teaching is truly a profession like.no.other. I have lost count (somewhere over 20) of the staff who have asked about my well-being this week. Each and every day, the reception staff and the school business manager (whom I see on the way in) have asked me, by name, how I am doing. The head uses my name daily, despite having 160ish staff and 20 new teachers this year.
And then there are the students. All different: some lively, some quiet, some flying, some struggling. All amazing, colourful, challenging and inspiring. In no other profession do I meet 242 young people, each and every week, and get a chance to help them become the best people they can be.
It’s tough, they depend on me to support them, help them learn, keep them safe. But I’m OK with that, because I’m part of a team. Teamwork gets the job done. And I’ve discovered there is no team like a school’s staff. I have my NQT mentor, my head of department, my coach (this school does teacher coaching: whether you are an NQT or not, you can ask for coaching from a senior teacher) and an SMT link. (Senior Management Team, sometimes called Senior Leadership Team or SLT).
Unbidden, and entirely welcome, teachers who have seen me interact with pupils have told me what I did right, and what I might try next time. My head of house has checked on me all week, and supported me through the first few form tutor sessions (particularly where makeup and bag checks were needed – something I would never have thought I’d be doing as a teacher but very important, with a strong uniform policy in our school).
As I relax on the first Friday, after an exhausting week, I reflect on the great support I’ve had from my colleagues, how exciting it was to see learning happening again after a long break since PGCE, and how well my school works together.
I thought the week was over as I ran to the car in the rain, but a colleague stopped, wound her window down and shouted genuine concern to me, and now I know, this is really a profession…