The life and times of a physics teacher (Warning: May contain sarcasm)
Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Despite being ridiculously awkward to grammatise that little nugget of wisdom is accepted knowledge. Not only that but here in the UK it’s become a bit of a running joke that university students who don’t know what to do just do a PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate of Education) so that they can hang around university for another year and then maybe teach for a couple of years before ‘finding themselves’. This is despite having already found themselves on their gap year and possibly finding themselves again during their second gap year after uni.
Am I diverging? Perhaps. Lottie Bell is my current student teacher. Emphasis on the student. I am going to put my hand up here and tell you something before I progress…I have only been a mentor for a short time so perhaps my experience is limited…but my word is she immature! Questions that I would like to ask her;
1. Did you really go out last night? On a school night? Does that explain why you don’t want to talk to the children?
2. If the answer to the question above is ‘no’ then why don’t you want to talk to the children? Have you thought this career choice through?
3. The ‘clear boundaries’, ‘explicit instructions’ and ‘excessive encouragement’ techniques are not things that I generally use on adults…why am I having to use them on you? Is it because on many levels you would still like to be an undergraduate with no responsibility and too much free time?
4. Why do you look upset when I ask you to teach the class? I haven’t asked you to scrub the tables, de-staple walls or photocopy sheets. This is the best thing about being a teacher…why are you sighing?
Perhaps I am being a little harsh. She is, after all, here to learn from experienced teachers. As for the quote that I started this post with, it is very obvious to me that there are millions of people out there who were not born to be teachers (and, yes, it seems that most of them decided to go in to teaching) but for those of us who were, this is what we do best. We come under ‘those who can, do’ because we can and we do. And we do it extremely well (just think back to your favourite teacher). So it’s only the second sentence that doesn’t ring true. Perhaps it should be;
Those who can, do. Those who can’t decide, teach badly.