Why do we teach? It’s an important question especially in these times when the press and government seem determined to drag us down at every opportunity.
For me, the answer is simple. I came into this profession because I thought that I could make a difference and I stay in it because I have found that I seem to be quite good at my job and I do actually make a difference to the lives and learning of my pupils.
The best days are those when you spark a real break through in some one’s thinking – that light bulb moment when a child’s eyes light up and they say “I get it”.
An example of this happened last week in a maths lesson. It wasn’t a very exciting lesson to be honest. I needed them to practise using a protractor and to make it slightly more interesting I had got them to draw a rectangle with 4 lines that crossed creating a variety of random shapes. They then had to measure the interior angles of some of the shapes that they had made.
The class already knew the rules about interior angles of triangle and quadrilaterals and I asked them to see if there was a rule for pentagons. One girl found that they added up to 540 degrees and then thought that she had spotted a pattern. I asked how she could test her idea and she decided to see if it worked for hexagons. Others became interested and followed her example. The group quickly found that the pattern did apply to other shapes and so I asked if they could work out what the algebraic equation would be.
By the end of the lesson the group had worked out an equation that worked for many sided polygons with very little help from me. My fairly routine lesson had sparked an investigation which had led to real learning about shapes and angles and the confidence level of the group of girls was sky high.
It’s because of moments like that I am a teacher 🙂