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Why do teachers teach?

I felt sorry for my audience this evening; a group of aspiring leaders who’d volunteered for a series of CPD events. My presentation on ‘Behaviour and Attendance’ was the final of these ‘twilights’.

‘Twilight’ has never seemed so appropriate. The temperature outside was in the 80’s; inside it was the same – minus the oxygen. I went to open a window and found they were already gaping. The room was a stale, airless fug before I even started.

Then a  dozen ambitious, talented young teachers (yes, policemen also look young to me these days) were driven ever-deeper into unconsciousness by 90 minutes of hot air emanating from yours truly.

To tell the truth they stuck with it gamely- answering my questions and joining in the activities.

But oh my, they looked tired.

39 weeks of preparing, wearing, teaching,  preaching, praising, chasing, coping, joking, talking, walking,  listening, glistening, marking, barking, reasoning, seasoning, pleading, weeding, feeding.. …and now leading….had….taken their (yawn) toll.

And they’re not alone. Let’s face it, by mid-July, we’re all zombies in lead boots with no gas in the tank.

The phrase ‘ready for a holiday’ doesn’t even get near it.


So why do we do it?

Of course it pays the mortgage. We all need to make ends meet. But there’s more to it than that. When I look around me at the staff I work with in schools I see people on a mission. People who know that the future matters, that the young people who pass through our doors will only get one chance, that the hopeless, chaotic, selfish and self-hating drunk-on-the –sofa–at-9-in-the-morning parents that some kids endure leave a gap that takes courage commitment and sometimes sheer bloody-mindedness to fill. We are on a mission. Why else would we do this to ourselves? Teachers who have lost their sense of mission have a very poor time of it.

So what’s in it for us?  It’s the smile we get from the child who’s applied a new skill for the first time. It’s the thrill we feel when they get up and strut their stuff in the school play, or score a goal for the school team.


From others the signs are smaller but they still mean a lot.

Just the other day a young man in Y10 was sitting in the corridor outside the LSU of a school where I’m a regular visitor. His life is pretty miserable and he’s not above taking this fact out on other kids and on staff. Anyway, as I raised my eyebrows in acknowledgement, this malcontent muttered something just loud enough for me to hear.

“Word up, me lad” he said.

Ok I admit, I had to go ask a young member of staff what the heck it meant …..but I was pleased when I did find out. He was simply saying hello. Even at the time I could sense that in a very small way, a connection was being made. Even the most difficult and challenging young people will sometimes reach out to us.

We may not feel like it right now in an end of term heat wave, but we are so lucky to work in an arena where we can make a difference.

So today, we’ll thank Andy Murray for providing an assembly that will write itself…and pretty soon we’ll be in deck chairs, pools, pagodas, wherever we choose to recharge and recuperate.

Then, come September, the mission, impossible or otherwise, starts all over again.

Why should you hire me?

Here are some of the issues that I can help you sort: If the answers to any of the issues to the right is yes then get in touch – you have found the man you are looking for!

But you don't need to take it from me, have a look at my testimonials page.

If you have:

  • Some of your staff keep getting into unnecessary confrontations with pupils?
  • Some staff struggle to deal with social chatter?
  • Subject leaders who don’t take the lead on behaviour for learning
  • Head of house/year who are buried in the reactive and want to be proactive?

If you want to:

  • Improve attendance?
  • Improve behaviour?
  • Deliver SEAL whole school
  • Get help with the behaviour and safety SEF?
  • Have better behaviour and attendance data?
  • Get PLTS embedded?
  • Get pupil voice working?

And also:

Do you want the best whole staff behaviour CPD at an affordable cost?

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