Saturday, 7 March 2015

thoughts on being a teacher



G of the blog jammen asked me if I enjoy being a teacher and if I recommend it. I'll be happy to share my thoughts on teaching, but first a little background.

As some of you know, I worked as a freelance journalist and copywriter for several years during and after writing my master thesis in media studies. I shared a bit about how I established myself as a freelancer in this post back in 2009 and I regularly shared my work here on the blog.

In 2011 I got a permanent part time position as a copywriter in a small ad agency. I mostly loved being a freelancer, but I quickly saw the benefits of being employed - especially when it came to the money bit.

I was on maternity leave with Sara for nearly two years. (Here are my thoughts on being a stay at home mom.) During this time, I realised that I didn't want to go back to freelancing. I would rather use my energy on being a mother than chasing my next sale/job/pay. I actually didn't really want to go back the ad agency job either. I felt like doing something else, something more meaningful - a realisation and transition that was a slow yet time-consuming process. Being a freelancer was such a big part of my identity and it was hard to see it go. Teaching had been in the back of my mind for a while, so the autumn of 2013 I decided to take the leap and start studying pedagogics and to work as a substitute teacher. I instantly loved pedagogics, substitute teaching not so much.

In early spring 2014 we decided to move from Bergen to Stavanger and I applied for my first full time teaching job. With hardly any teaching experience, I started my teaching career at a local secondary/middle school in August 2014.

Being a fresh teacher (kontaktlærer, ikke bare faglærer) in a full time job is super intense and a lot of hard work. When you combine it with part time studies, house renovation and living with your in-law's/parents, you are rather silly. Being a teacher is not just about teaching, there is so much more to it. Being the leader of the classroom, how to build good relations with your students, how to grade papers, how to make good plans for each lesson, how to give attention to all the students in your class; not just the ones who speak the loudest, how to... do anything! There is SO much to learn!

The good thing is, I actually enjoy it, a lot. I might even come to love it. But I'm really looking forward to finishing my studies and being able to focus on just (more or less) one thing. And I look forward to being a more experienced, confident teacher.

Do I recommend being a teacher? It depends on what kind of person you are. You must like working with people (kids, teenagers, your colleagues) and you must like conveying knowledge - plus everything in-between, which is a part of being a teacher you don't really know about until you have tried working as a teacher.

I'm glad I got into teaching and I hope to continue doing it for a long while.

Any other teachers want to share their thoughts?

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing Astrid. So nice to read your thoughts on being a teacher!

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  2. Takk for at du skriver et så utfyllende, godt innlegg om din prosess mot å bli lærer, og foreløpige opplevelser! Spennende å lese hvordan det er, - høres ut som en krevende jobb, men også givende. Man gjør jo en forskjell for en haug med unge mennesker, daglig. Og det gleder meg å se at du liker det! Håper du fortsetter å trives, og takk for et inspirerende og fyldig svar. Kjenner at jeg selv også vil gå "dypere inn i" tenkeboksen rundt det å bli lærer, for jeg tror det er bra. Et viktig, litt vanskelig, og veldig bra yrke. Ønsker deg en fantastisk helg og masse lykke til videre som kontaktlærer :)

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  3. I would be interested to know... is it common in Norway that they employ you as a full time teacher after only one year of studying? Without any kind of teaching degree?
    Best wishes, Anna

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  4. Veldig interessant å se hvordan folk går forskjellige veier i løpet av livet og så deilig å høre at det også er helt greit! Jeg har skiftet stier nå og da og er veldig fornøyd med å være der hvor jeg er nå (selv om et freelance liv virker fristende nå og da, det er på den andre siden veldig mange ting å tenke på - spesielt i konkurranseutsatte bransjer som media :)

    Godt å få tid til å titte litt her igjen :)

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  5. I have been reading your blog for a while since I am interested in all things Scandinavian, and I find it very interesting and inspiring (I love your photos!). And I always like to read about your experiences as a teacher. I am French but I live in Germany where I have been teaching secondary school (students aged 10 to 19 - a huge span) for ten years now.
    As you said, being a teacher is a LOT of work and there are so many different aspects to the job that it can be overwhelming at times. And it can be equally rewarding and frustrating, sometimes even in the course of the same day. After ten years, there are still days when I come home and think that I totally suck at this and that I'm a terrible teacher ;-) And then there are those days when you've just had a few great classes and everything went just great, and it's the best job in the whole world! So there's definitely a kind of "manic-depressive" touch that goes with the job ;-) Generally I enjoy it, but it doesn't mean I enjoy every single minute of it. I have nice colleagues, I like my students, I like preparing for my classes and coming up with things that might interest them - but I'm not too fond of grading papers or generally spending many week-ends at my desk when the rest of the world seem to be having fun. Feisty parents and difficult students can also be very challenging.
    I live in a small town, which means I keep stumbling on students or their parents when I "off-duty", which is not something I relish either, even if they are friendly. Is that a problem that you have in Stavanger? And do your students know about your blog?
    I have another question: what subjects do you teach? From reading you, I got the impression that you teach a whole range of subjects - how does it work? Here in Germany we usually teach two subjects, and I find it hard enough to stay on top of things...
    Anyway, keep up the good work and have fun settling in your new house - I love reading about that, too!
    xo
    Gaëlle

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  6. Jeg er utdannet journalist og har jobbet litt for et av de store mediehusene i Norge, men vantrivdes. Mest av alt fordi jeg jobbet foran en data hele dagen, kun snakket med intervjuobjekter over telefon og knapt hadde noen interaksjon med kolleger.

    Så mistet jeg jobben og begynte som vikarlærer. Og det var så gøy! Jeg er ganske ung og underviser 10.klasse, så det er jo litt rart, men jeg trives veldig. Har ikke PPU da, og vet ikke helt om jeg orker det etter 5 års studier, men foreløpig er det veldig hyggelig å være vikar.

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  7. For me It's definitely a very rewarding job. I'm always proud of my students, just to see them grow from one year to the next, and knowing that you/we might have a very small input on that is just wonderful.
    It's also not just about teaching, it's about learning. Everyday I learn something new with my students. Setting aside all the tremendous work, I definitely think it's one of the best jobs in the world. :)

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