Six Reasons Why Teaching Is The Most Important Job In The Country

Perhaps the reason that teaching is subject to so much constant reform at the hands of new education ministers, so much coverage in the press and so much debate among people in general is simple: it’s the most important job in the country.

Of course I agree that the pay and the status do not reflect this: if you did this amount of work in a different career the pay would be much higher, and the status teacher’s are enjoying at the moment is at it’s lowest ever.

However, you all know your worth, status and how much work you do for no reward other than the satisfaction of knowing you’re the most important thing on the planet. If there were no teachers, which I like to think might happen as more and more teachers are bullied out and less and less teachers sign up to be fresh cannon fodder, then society would very quickly crumble. Here’s why.

Skills for living and working
Schools teach students how to read, write, do maths, use computers, talk and interact properly with humans and a whole host of other basic skills that allow a person to live and work and be a proper member of society.

As much as the low standard of these skills in school leavers is complained about by employers, I guarantee it is not the fault of the teacher when these skills are lacking. I think the fact that teachers provide this service is not appreciated at all, particularly by the students themselves.

Providing opportunity
Teachers, usually in their own time and for no extra pay, provide opportunities for students to get involved further in various other activities that would just not be available anywhere else. Sports, music and drama are the obvious choices, but really there’s the whole breadth and depth of human activity that is offered around the country.

The more of this type of ‘extra curricular’ activity a student is involved in, then the more involved in life and society they will be when they leave, the more skills they develop and the more experiences they have.

Inspiring lifelong interests
Most interests for most people first develop when they are in school. It might be a preference for a particular subject, or a heavy involvement in something outside of lessons, but a student’s first experiences of it, through school, will form the impression they have of that activity for life.

Many students enjoy particular school activities because of the person delivering them, and the love of the subject matter itself will not develop without that initial positive interaction.

Building self esteem
Not progressive, soft touch, ‘everyone’s a winner’ type self esteem, but the proper kind of self esteem, earned through achievement, success, hard work and belief. And occasionally telling a student when something is wrong or unacceptable, so that they can correct it, and enjoy being a success because of that.

This kind of self worth is only available when students have another option: that is to choose low self esteem by choosing not to rise to any challenges or modify anything they are doing, and so be a failure of their own making. Teachers try to make students understand this, despite all the government advice to the contrary, because it’s the only thing that works.

Setting moral standards
Schools set a moral idealistic compass in a world where there is too much corruption, self-interest and inequality. The more teachers encourage ethical behaviour, then the more students are going into the world holding these as values, and the better the world will be as a result.

Picking up where parents fail
Through their own fault or not, sometimes parents don’t provide things for their children that it is expected of them to provide. Such as toilet training for reception students, how to hold a conversation and actually make sense, or how to cook their own tea. Teachers, although they shouldn’t, very often have to fill this gap.

Note that none of what I’ve said above includes providing entertainment for disinterested teenagers, providing free childcare that fits in around a parent’s working day, or providing a culture where they can’t lose and are always happy. It reads almost like an answer to the question ‘what is the purpose of education?’

Do you agree with what I’ve written? Could you add anything to it? I’d love to hear from you, please email me or comment below.

Related post: Other Professions That Might Be Just As Bad As Teaching


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