Saturday, January 31, 2015

Being: a Teacher

So I have returned to teaching and I’m doing short term contracts. I made this choice for myself because I really didn’t know what steps to take next. In fact there are many reasons why I made this choice:

  1. I’ll get paid, ya know? There are bills and adult responsibilities that have to be taken care of and an income helps in this regard.
  2. I can take some time off as I need without having to ask for approval. I can get things in my life sorted – whether that be project or house work or garden. I will have more time.
  3. I get some variety in my life.
  4. There is limited responsibility. I am still responsible and professional. But at the end of the day, I walk away. I am not required to do rosters or work an 11 hour day to cover staff who are sick because there are no available relief staff and none of my team are able to, or will work a longer shift.
  5. I get to be. The Being part of Belonging, Being and Becoming. I get to experience that too. I am there for the children. I am not feeling the same pressures I once felt as a teacher or director or teaching director.
  6. I can experiment with documenting children’s learning - with my writing style, what I choose to include or leave out and all that jazz.
  7. I can really focus on myself – my professional self. Who I am. Who I am for the children. Who I am for the team. I get to observe myself and how children respond to me. I’m finding it quite interesting.
  8. I can bide my time ... work and figure out who I want to be when I grow up. Because, at the end of the day, I have no idea what direction I want to travel in.
  9. I don’t have to get sucked into centre/service/organizational politics. I go to work. I do my job. I do the best job I can. I go home. Tada!
  10. I will have plenty to reflect upon ... which means I can write about it ... which means I can do my Teacher’s Ink. work as well as a few of my other of my other projects!
  11. I will be able to practice what my brain now knows after the last two years of mentoring and thinking ... Which can only be a good thing.

© Teacher’s Ink. 2015 All Rights Reserved


  1. Teacher's Ink, I need help! I really want to further develop myself as an educator but I don't know where to begin. The thought of programming is exciting but also overwhelming and makes my tummy feel funny.

    I'm a casual educator 3 years into the job. I finished year 12, completed a cert III traineeship and have remained a casual educator at the same centre and 2 other centres since. I also began studying part time diploma as soon as my traineeship was up. I ended up pulling out halfway through because I wasn't coping (I have anxiety disorder, you see), though.

    Each shift that I have I often think "What am I doing right now? How can I interact with the children? What can I say next? How should I respond?". Since I was in primary school I've known I've wanted to work in this industry, but now I'm wondering if I am good enough for it. I have never done programming and apart from TAFE assessments and daily journals I have never done consistent observations and reflections (I should practice).

    Also, I'm not that great with large groups of children or reacting to a group of chn aren't listening or are becoming restless or responding to undesirable behaviour and other things as well. I've been told many times "It comes with time and experience" but I'm sure a lot of being a confident and capable educator does but I think even for someone who's only been in the industry for 3 years, that I need to really, really improve. How can I apply for other jobs if I don't believe in my abilities as a professional educator because they're just not up to scratch?

    I am becoming desperate. I know you have said that the term 'casual' doesn't do the work we do any justice and that you feel casual teachers should be referred to as 'relief staff' but I feel that this doesn't apply to me. I have a great rapport with many children but I don't want to be seen by them as just a friend but as another educator. I might have a good day with no dramas and I may have laughed with children or read books and what not but what have I done in my interactions, have they been purposeful?

    I probably sound like a rambling idiot and you may have no idea what to do with all these words I have just given you. I realise you're very busy but is there anything that you could say that may be of some use to me?

  2. You will grow as an educator - as you experience being an educator! I did about 3 years of relief and contract work and short term jobs after I completed my Diploma way back in the late 90s early 00s.

    The fact that you are present in yourself as an educator - that you think about what you do and say - and the fact that you have always wanted to work in this sector sets you apart from those that think they know best and behave as such - and yes I have had those moments and I am sure I still do ... when I make mistakes or realise I could do things in a more professional manner, I strive to do so ... Its about growth.

    No one is a perfect educator. And no one graduated knowing all they needed to know ... Graduation is only the beginning of your professional journey.


    Relationships with children - sharing a laugh - reading a book is entirely purposeful!

    Look at your strengths ... and celebrate them ... Next time you are at work - what do you do well? Note it down. Celebrate it. Work from there. We all have our gifts, you need to find yours and build yourself up! UP! UP!

    - G @ Teacher's Ink.