Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Reluctant Teacher

I was a reluctant teacher. 

At first, like many children, I said I wanted to be a teacher, but had no clear idea what the job entailed.  It was just what I saw, day to day in school, from adults I (largely) respected.  Then I had an epiphany during my A-Level years.  I was working my socks off, nose to the grindstone, fingers to the bone, breaking my back, and all the other cliches.  I was going through this massive, transitional stage of my life, longing for the day when I could leave school behind me and find out who I could be somewhere else.  And then I realised that teachers lived through this every year - a constant cycle of teenage stresses, tantrums and hormonal breakdowns; same curriculum, same issues, same assignments, same same same same same.

Next, I counted the teachers in my family, past and present: 12 all told.  Wasn't there something different I could do instead?

So I ran a mile, and spent the next several years saying I would never teach.  (Repeat 'never' as many times as desired - I certainly did.)

But I couldn't deny that growing feeling that teaching had some unfinished business with me, or vice versa.  Not in a school, certainly, but what about language teaching?  I'd done some volunteer work, and found it... satisfying.  Fulfilling.  Intriguing. 


So I gave it a try. 

Anyway, that's all history now.  I teach, therefore I am a teacher.  But please don't call me 'Teacher' - I'd far rather you used my name.


  1. Hi Stephanie,

    Your story reminds me of the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho;it is one of my favourite books. If you haven't read it, I'm sure you'd enjoy it.

    Sometimes we just can't fight fate.

  2. Hi Stephanie. Your blog looks great: the first thing that I thought was that it seems to he a blog of long-standing; not one created recently... and I understand completely your feelings about teaching, which I experienced myself to some extent.

  3. I had a hard time with this myself, having students call me teacher, when I started ... especially my Saudi / middle eastern students. But then I learned that's embedded in their culture and it's a hard habit for them to break.

    The blog looks great!

  4. The blog name came out of a conversation on a staff night out - one colleague was saying how the word for teacher in Chinese apparently means 'old master', and in Japanese it's 'sensei', which also conjures images of grey-bearded wisdom (not to mention awesome ninja skills). Whereas when a student calls me by saying 'Teacher Teacher!', I hear 'Waiter Waiter...' or 'Doctor Doctor...' - I hear the start of a joke, rather than a term of respect.