Last week at this time, I was on Spring Break. I had enjoyed a few days at the beach, had read several books cover to cover, had completely relaxed. Was that really only a week ago? Feels like longer!
The first week back in my classroom after that lovely break has been a challenge. Getting up Monday, for example. Never have I hated the sound of my alarm so much. Until Tuesday morning, that was; then I hated it even more. And then there’s the kids. For those of you who don’t work in a classroom or some other environment where you’re with little people all day, let me tell you that one week off – in fact, just a long weekend off will do it – is like starting all over again. Kids who a week ago knew how to add three digit numbers return unable to count to ten. And handwriting? Don’t even ask. Add to that parent-teacher conferences, a late night volunteering at a school event and the looming shadow of end of year testing, and my first week back has been a treat. I’ll let you decide for yourself whether I write that sarcastically or not…
Now I’m going to tell you one of my guilty little secrets – and you’re honoured here, since I don’t think many people know this. Here it is: I love reading job descriptions.
Yes, you read that right. Even when I’m not actively searching for a job, I like to look at the adverts and read the job descriptions. I imagine myself meeting all the essential and desirable points. I wonder how honest each statement is. I try to read between the lines and add the truthful personal specifications that never get mentioned, but always make or break it. And believe me, sometimes you find some real gems, like the Doctor Who themed teacher advert I read a few years ago.
This week has been one of those times where I’ve been thinking about the Teacher Job Description. Fellow teachers, do you ever do that?
Teacher Job Description
- Fluency in second language, including but not limited to: Tired Child, Anxious Parent, Ofsted-Talk (or equivalent), Teacher-to-Teacher (otherwise known as ‘I can’t say this in front of the children but I think you get my drift’), Hyper Child (most commonly required at seasonal times throughout the year), and Staff Meeting (otherwise known as ‘I can’t say this in front of the Head but I think you get my drift’).
- Ability to hold bladder for eight hours.
- Behavior management skills, including but not limited to: crowd control; resilience to repeated instances of bottle flipping, eye rolling and ‘But Miss’ exclamations; inherent reward generation and mental reviewing; and the encouragement of simultaneous creativity and quiet working skills.
- Skills in conflict resolution, including the ability to discern exactly ‘what she said’.
- Ability to withstand a minimum of a dozen hands on your person at key points during the working day.
- Keen hearing.
- 20-20 vision, including the swift development of rear-view vision (more commonly referred to as ‘Eyes in the Back of Your Head’).
- Ability to plan effective, meaningful, standards-driven and unique learning experiences to cater to the needs of a student group with a range of at least ten ability years, several languages, sixteen different learning styles, eight allergies and between one and one hundred learning goals.
- Clear communication skills, including but not limited to: confident ability to draw from a practiced bank of character voices, immediate deployment of ‘Teacher Voice’, translation skills required to meet demands of wholly transparent/completely sugar-coated written, verbal, written and verbal, verbal, written, written parent communications; and the wordless, stare-only, relay of information.
- Sense of humour.
- Self-restraint, with particular reference to Staff Development and regular workplace meetings.
- Ability to adapt. Quickly. In a way that promotes well-being. Without mistake. At least twice a working period.
- Sufficient immunity to germs of varied kinds.
- Capacity for endless patience.
- Skills and proven experience in first aid, counseling, child psychology, family mediation and productive collaboration.
- Leadership skills and talent in working effectively with others, including those of similar/different age and experience, those from different and unique backgrounds, those who may require guidance in the areas of change-acceptance and ‘How to Teach to Insurmountable Preposterous Tests’, as well as those who suffer from seasonal addictions to wine, chocolate or caffeine during those times as deemed by Ofsted (or equivalent) or LEA (or equivalent).
- Able to meet regular and demanding targets. Regularly. And on demand.
- Time management skills and willingness to complete at least 90-120 minutes of marking, planning, preparation and similar activities per night.
- The ability to be in two (or twenty) places at once.
- Willingness to supply baked goods on a regular basis for Staff Development, and corresponding baking skills.
- In addition to fluency in second language, a proficient understanding of Senior Management speak will be required.
- Selective hearing.
- Drawing skills.
- Musical skills.
- Dramatic skills.
- Writing skills.
- Scientific investigational skills.
- Accounting skills.
- Cleaning skills.
- Financial stability and willingness to sacrifice this within the first week of employment due to resourcing requirements.
- No current desire to maintain a life beyond the workplace.
Impossible, no? Maybe. But we do it every day.
It’s easy to feel that as a teacher you’re doing the job of a dozen people and getting the thanks of none. But really, if I were to write a Teacher Job Description I would keep it short and sweet.
- Capacity and willingness to love, and be loved, by a ragamuffin bunch of shining stars.
- Capacity and willingness to teach, and be taught, by said ragamuffin bunch of shining stars.
That’s all. 🙂