Some week’s the waffle just comes together and I am really keen and ready to write it. Other weeks, there is a huge barrier that appears which actually stops me. I usually await inspiration and this week was one of those week’s that nothing was presenting itself at all and I have tried in vain to start several waffles and really got no where. This will be my third attempt and, because you are reading and/or listening it, means that it actually made it to the publishing phase. What is this waffle about? well quite simple, why do I teach?
I often wonder who actually reads my waffles. From the statistical returns you can see the number of views, what people are looking at, and even where they have followed links from. However, there is no way of knowing who they actually are. Before you think that I am planning on stalking half of you, the reason I am interested in this, is that I often wonder whether the tagline, “Teaching, Tech and Twaddle” actually represents the people who visit the page. I know when I am looking at the three hits on my Youtube Videos, it is interesting to see how long those individuals actually watch the video for before clicking off them but again there is no representation of their interests or reason for watching the video in the first place. Interestingly enough my highest hit rating for a video is the one which I used the tag ‘Collabro’ in – clever marketing or what! The reason for this long waffle here is that I often wonder whether the people who view my waffles are actually teachers or teach in some capacity. If most people are not, then maybe I should reconsider the topics of my waffles. Anyway – back on topic! – why do I teach? well I can, surprisingly enough, in true waffling style, sum this up in three points…
Enjoyable – Currently I can safely say I would be classed as ‘small scale’ in everything I do. If you look at my Youtube Channel, Radio Station/Shows, and even Twitch or this Website – it is obvious that I am considered a small scale blogger/gamer/radio presenter. Yesterday I wrote a blog post on my personal blog detailing why I would never be an internet sensation – if I was planning on achieving this, then I would have failed a long time ago. For me, I do all this internet ‘stuff’ because it keeps me busy and I actually enjoy it. This is the same with teaching and learning. Work is an integral part of our lives and it is important that we are doing something which either contributes to our lives and/or which we actually enjoy. I have said many times in answer to the question, why do you teach? that I do the job because I enjoy it and, if the time ever came that I didn’t enjoy it, I would stop. What do I enjoy about it? Well that is a question that I have considered on many occasions and, I have come to the conclusion that one of the reasons I enjoy it is because of the challenge.
Challenge – My brain loves a problem and/or puzzle. It thrives on working things out and organising. Most of the time I am very grateful of this aspect of my brain, although sometimes it can be very annoying, especially when it decides it wants to consider something in more depth just as I have climbed into bed to go to sleep! Teaching is a challenge. Whether there is one or thirty learners, whether they are five years old or thirty, they all present the same challenge. How am I going to motivate, inspire, challenge and progress their learning? Coupled with this are all the other issues which need to be considered such as enjoyability, behavioural issues and even how to further extend the learning away from the classroom. All of these aspects of teaching I consider a challenge and a problem to solve. Although module specs and the National Curriculum tell me what to teach, the challenge is how to teach it. I’ve always been a teacher in some form (yes really!) so it is hard for me to relate the profession to other jobs, but I am doubtful whether there is any job which presents so many individual challenges every minute of every day.
Variety – I like my routines. Indeed I can get quite anxious when these routines are interrupted or altered. There is something very reassuring about being in control of things, knowing what is coming next and being able to plan and engage with it with confidence. Teaching is nothing like this. Some people might think that my own personality trait and the unpredictability of teaching would be conflicting issues. But interestingly they actually do compliment each other. Initially, it relates to the previous section about challenge and problem solving. The unpredictability often means I have to reorganise and solve problems as I go along, which I do enjoy. Secondly the unpredictability of teaching means that there is a huge variety of opportunities for me to engage with. People often ask if I would ever go back to primary school teaching? I really enjoyed all the years I spent working and teaching in school but I do feel now I have moved on and the learning arena has changed. This blog would never have existed when I was teaching in primary school – firstly because I don’t think blogging as prolific as it is now, but secondly because I am engaging with a different audience with my teaching. The purpose of Wilson Waffling Live is to promote asynchronous learning and, although I have some way to go at the moment, it is a challenge and one I am going to continue to engage with. The variety of the learning environments and the range of learners is very appealing. How to interact with each learner, how to motivate and inspire each learner and how to encourage learning outside the usual timetabled sessions all provides the job with the variety which I enjoy.
It was when I was reading this article titled – ‘What it means to teach’ that the original idea came to me for this waffle. Most people, when they respond to the question – why do you teach? – will refer to making a difference or even seeing the look on the learners’ faces when they achieve understanding of something or make progress. These are all important but for me this is almost the textbook interview answer to the question. The reasons I teach are not limited to the three sections above, but these do form the foundations of all the other reasons. Just as I will never be an internet sensation with the Youtube plaque gracing my wall for numerous subscribers, I also know, and accept, that I will never attain the accolade of national teaching awards or be asked to present keynotes at conferences. But for me, I have something which is just as good because there is nothing like interacting with a group of learners within a session, sharing and collaborating and enjoying learning together. And if I could bottle and present that feeling in a waffle then that would be a clear indication of ‘Why I teach’.
So, why do you teach or why do you do the job you do? Are they for the similar reasons as me or completely difference reasons? As always, I look forward to hearing your comments and ideas, please add them in the comments below or send them to me via Twitter(@iwilsonysj), Facebook, Google+ or email.
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Have fun and I’ll catch you later