Thanks go to my good friend Helen for recommending Tim Minchin’s Occasional Address when he accepted an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Western Australia. Listen to what he has to say about teachers. If you’re pressed for time, here it is in print.
6. Be a teacher.
Please? Please be a teacher. Teachers are the most admirable and important people in the world. You don’t have to do it forever, but if you’re in doubt about what to do, be an amazing teacher. Just for your twenties. Be a primary school teacher. Especially if you’re a bloke – we need male primary school teachers. Even if you’re not a Teacher, be a teacher. Share your ideas. Don’t take for granted your education. Rejoice in what you learn, and spray it.
(You can read the rest of the transcribed speech here. Great for an English class!)
It made me think about those of us who are career teachers, and not just teachers for our twenties. It’s a hard gig being a teacher – there’s an unrelenting pace to the school year and the fact that it’s a job that continues well past the final bell means that it pulls on our families and our ability to pursue facets of our life that we’d like to pursue eg; the exercise that Tim is such a strong proponent for.
BUT, the rewards of the job are beyond measure…
Today was my last lesson with my Year 9 Language of our Times students. I’ve had a wonderful year with these girls, exploring ideas around communication in today’s world and utilising Project Based Learning methods of teaching with them. At the end of the lesson they hugged and thanked me. Ahhh…such rich rewards…for them, and me.
So yes, be a teacher.
Enjoy your weekend. I intend to.