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Back To (my old) School

Every teacher is inspired by somebody, that’s why we ended up in this job. Hopefully one day we will inspire someone else ourselves to become teachers, for some people that’s the dream.

Last February I was encouraged to apply for a job at my old school. I was admittedly apprehensive; I have been a strong believer in not going back. But, due to my family situation I decided to apply and luckily, I got the job.

I come from a small town, working class with low aspirations. Walking around the school where I was a pupil and now work brought this all back to me. It also reminded me about why we teach.

Many of the students I teach will be first generation University students, I was one of those students.

Many of them will not leave the town were born in although some may dream to. Many of the girls don’t think they can go to university, or work and be a mother at the same time. This still worries me. I hope that through the #tellHERstory campaign that we can start to change these perceptions. I know they managed to do it for me.

Coming back has made me realise, even more so how important our job as a teacher is. These students are more than capable of doing whatever they want to. They are me; me ten years ago, but still me. With better uniform admittedly, but they are going through the same things. That’s not changed.
I have been here since September, and of course the students have started to work it out. My cover is blown, but rather than try and hide it I proudly tell them that I went to this school. I feel that I can show them that there is life outside of this town, that they can achieve. Having lived and worked in London for four years (a revelation to a lot of the children I teach.), I am getting used to the way of life again. But, not so use to it that I don’t want to try and change a few things. The possibilities are endless, if we can harness that passion. That is part of our job as teachers.

I wonder how often we tell our story to our students, they don’t always see us as human, but as a robot who recharges in the staffroom over the weekend. Yes, we have to be careful about what we share, but, we are their inspiration, we can give them that drive. Being able to identify with us is I believe very important.

I’m not saying we should all go back to the school we were students at; although I am interested in your experiences if you have, but I am asking us to take a moment. Which teacher drove us? Are we doing the same as they did? Have we lost touch in the midst of data and targets and appraisals and the brand new old initiative? If so, take a minute look round the classroom. What do you see? I think I might have found it again.

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The author

Hannah qualified as a History teacher in 2014 from the University of Roehampton. She has taught widely across the Humanities subjects and has held additional whole school responsibility. She worked in London for four years, before moving back to Nottingham at the start of September 2017. She has blogged for #WomenEd and is involved in various communities for her subject, aspiring Middle Leaders and the development of trainee teachers. She is involved in the Legacy 110 Project and is a mentor at the University of Nottingham where she started her Masters in Education in September. She is interested in development of the curriculum, training teachers and diversity in education.

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