Want to become an inspirational leader? Become a teacher
There are few jobs out there that receive as much criticism from the general public as teaching. People complain that teachers get too much holiday, are paid too much and that they don’t understand what a real working week is like.
What they forget is that teachers are the people who will inspire their children, show them new ways of learning and encourage them to go on to do great things.
For those who aspire to be inspirational leaders teaching is the best career move you can make.
There is, of course, lots of hard work that comes with teaching, much like any career that puts you at the forefront of innovation and change. Expect to work 59 hours a week as a primary school teacher and 55 for a secondary teacher, expect to spend Sunday afternoons marking work to ensure your class regularly knows how well they are doing and with further cuts probably on the way expect to pay for lesson materials and excursions out of your own pocket.
An inspirational leader is someone like John Keating, who might be a fictional character but one who embodies all the characteristics a teacher requires to inspire in a classroom. Teachers should be telling their students that ‘no matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world’ and while ripping pages out of books could land them in hot water with the school board, mixing teaching methods up can boost engagement and results.
The character of Keating has actually gone on to inspire others to pick up the teaching torch and with Robin Williams’ untimely death in 2014 many people took to Twitter to let others know how much the character motivated their career choice.
Inspirational teachers think nothing of taking students outside to experience the world and step away from the mundane lessons that keep pupils restricted behind a desk. Teachers should be challenging student’s ideals and perspectives and pushing them to go further, they encourage children to be active and to try out new ways of finding an answer.
Another inspirational teacher is Erin Gruwell, who took a class of students deemed incapable of learning and inspired them to change their way of thinking through writing. She encouraged her students to talk about issues on going in their lives, which currently included gang wars and racial conflict, and brought in guest speakers and took them on trips to museums, something many teachers would not have thought possible.
Gruwell continues to inspire others now and travels to conduct talks around the world. She has also published a successful book, which was made into the 2007 film Freedom Writers, starring Hilary Swank.
Of course, these revolutionising teachers are in short supply, simply because the current curriculum expects so much of children that teachers are crushed under the weight of expected grades, marking and objectives. That’s why it’s time for you, someone who wants to be an inspirational leader, to become a teacher and start making some changes.
Look into training for a PGCE, taking on a School Direct course or searching for roles on Edustaff, because it’s time for a new brand of teacher that follows in the footsteps of Keating or Gruwell, whose passion and love for the students – on top of plenty of desk jumping - paves the way to greatness.