Well I can’t quite believe that this is the last week of term one. The reason I can’t believe it, is because I have so much work to do, that needs to be completed before the end of term, that I can’t quite get passed it. Like many other teacher friends, I have a lot of marking to complete, programs to update, registers to complete etc etc. I am sure that many of my colleagues in schools can sympathise with me.
At present I have two prac students; one comes in for day-a-week visits on Tuesday, and the other on Wednesday. Both students are engaged and want to be involved in the different activities that fill my day. One of my prac students has helped to administer and supervise an examination and today she came in and sat on the marking of speeches for year 7 students. Today she looked tired at the end of the day. I asked her how she felt after today – two lessons in the classroom and four lessons of listening to year 7 students deliver speeches on what they believe is the most important thing that we can do to ensure sustainability of the environment. She looked at me and smiled and said she was really tired. She commented on how much she got out of the experience and then talked about how intense the day was – how do you do it and everything else you’re expected to do? I replied by telling her that a teacher’s work is never done. There is always something to do. I talked about the need to balance the administrative requirements with the teaching and learning. I talked about establishing priorities. I am a teacher first. A teacher to my students. Teaching and learning is my passion so that is where I spend a lot of my time. It is about finding processes and prioritising tasks.
After our conversation I thought a little more about my to-do list, which rarely drops below about five or six items to do. I suppose that’s the thing about teachers – we are constantly striving for better ways to engage our students in the classroom, or to inspire our colleagues to achieve the best that they can, or to motivate ourselves, that we always have something to add to our to do list. I do recall some words that a very wise teacher I once worked with, in my very early years of teaching. She said to me – don’t ever say that you have finished everything on your to do list…a teacher’s work is never done. When you retire – that is when your work is done.