1 teacher 5 questions: Mr W

This week’s teacher snap quiz, features Mr. W, a secondary teacher, in Dublin, Ireland.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

There’s absolutely no excuse to be impolite. Even when you face challenges – if you are patient and polite in how you address things – you’ll never feel like you’re losing a sense of yourself. Being yourself is important. Share – don’t be afraid to open up somewhat – you can be personable without handing your life details over to your students. They will appreciate it and see you as someone who is working with them for the greater good.

What’s the craziest or most outstanding thing that ever happened in your classroom?

Anything to do with music. It brings out the absolute best in everyone – especially those who don’t have a relationship with music and only discover it through a collective and co-operative classroom setting.

Tell us one thing you would change about teaching, and why.

Students and teachers need to feel like they belong to a collective community – we need to feel like we are all defined by a mutual energy. The promotion of this in schools is something I would look at. A lot could be done around this, no one should feel like just another cog in the machine. Everyone should feel that their contributions, and indeed, their mere presence, matters. Extra-curricular is king. Put a much stronger emphasis on it – it can be a defining characteristic for everyone in contributing to the school energy as a whole, whether it’s sport, music or art.

What’s the best thing about being a teacher?

The students. I’m lucky to have spent a decade teaching at my school and as a result, have got to know everyone including their parents, siblings, and all the ups and downs. Meeting and engaging with different personalities is character building. You can still be the “teacher” but also yourself. That’s crucial.

Describe your life as a teacher in 5 words.

Engaging, personable, hectic, rewarding and hilarious (the students I teach are the funniest humans that have ever existed).

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