Born To Teach or Taught To Teach? #ThrowbackThursday

Written before I finally got my own class! But the question still stands…



Image Source, words my own.

I think it’s quite apparent to those of you that read this blog regularly, that I work with children, as an educator, a teacher.

Something a colleague said to me the other week really made me think, and it’s been on my mind ever since.

Is this true?

A good teacher is born, just that.

It’s an inherent quality that is within you, from the beginning. And though there are teaching colleges, and degrees, if you don’t have that quality, you will never be a truly GOOD teacher.

Is it true?

I really don’t know… I have seen some truly awful ‘teachers’ over the years, and experienced them, as a student too. Those that teach by the book. Using methods that they have learned by rote.

Then I have seen those inspiring educators, who seem to just emit that glow of learning, and seem to impart knowledge to their students, without the kids even knowing that they have just learned something new.

Sure, it never hurt anyone to learn a few skills, but it’s how you use them in practice that is the important thing, I guess…

I wanted to be a teacher from the tender age of 7. I remember it well. When I realised what I wanted to do. It’s all down to Jo Duck! She was our Head Girl at school when I was finishing Primary School, and she came down to us for her work experience. Up until then, I had naturally enjoyed school, and the teachers were part and parcel, of a great experience that I had had. Suddenly, it was brought to my attention that being a teacher was a job! It was something I could do too! And well, that was it, my mind was made up.

Sure I went through the ‘I wanna be a pop star/film star/hairdresser’ etc. phase, but I always came back to the teaching option. As I grew up, attending all the family functions that having a huge family generates, I would naturally end up with all the little kids around me, sometimes even setting up a school, and playing being teacher. This continued as I got older, but it would be the parents bringing their children to me, and knowing I would happily keep them entertained.

The thought of spending my whole working life with these little creatures of wonder, these empty vessels, these dry sponges, filled me with excitement! I wanted to be the one to fill them with knowledge, to give them the liquid knowledge for them to soak up.

Then, as was the requirement, I went to university, to study for my degree… 4 years to perfect what I always wanted to do. But by the third year, I was totally disheartened. Really? Is THIS what teaching was? A whole load of red tape, paperwork, assessments, tests? When did we get to be with the children? Learning? Playing? Having fun? I know there was going to be work in there too, but what I remember from school was so different to what I was expected to provide to a class of children. It’s like the National Curriculum had arrived, just in time to suck out the fun from schools. This was not what I had signed up for!

I was so close to quitting, but a conversation with my mumΒ sat in the stairwell of my student digs in my third year, convinced me to at least finish my degree. But the rot had set in. I had lost that oomph.

Fast forward 14 odd years. I had worked in retail, Β in the banking industry, then in an office for a marketing company, but no schools. I had my husband and family, and situations at the time meant I left my then job, to give my all to my children, and my son in particular, who needed more support, academically.

But I couldn’t be a Stay At Home Mum, for various reasons. I needed to find work. Something that would suit my life as a wife and mother. One of the mums at Lil Man’s school knew my qualifications and mentioned that there was a Bi-Lingual Teaching Assistant job going at the school. Hours-wise, that would be great, term-time, holidays with the kids, and start and finish alongside them too! And maybe, just maybe, I could get to do what I loved, finally!

I applied, I got an interview, and I got the job! Well, it would have been a no brainier, Teacher for Teaching Assistant money (and, believe me, it is a pittance of salary!).

So, nervously, I stepped back into education, and almost as soon as I got in, working with Primary and Junior school children, that spark was truly ignited once again. Why had I never gone back to it?

I wanted my own class, but I could also see the stresses and strains that the class teachers of now, have put upon them, by the school’s management, who, in turn, are pressured by the higher powers, to produce results, Results RESULTS!

It’s still there though, that yearning for being an inspiration to a generation of children through teaching them. Sure, I get to be something to them as the Teaching Assistant, but it’s not the same as them being your babies, your class… I’m lucky that the teacher I work with gives me a lot of leeway, and respects my ideas, sometimes using them too.

Going back to what my colleague said to me, the other week. She was surprised that I wasn’t a teacher in the school from my demeanour and behaviour with the kids. And she told me “I believe a true teacher is born, not taught. It’s in you. And I can see that in you.”

Honestly, it was one of the biggest compliments that I have ever received, both professionally, and personally.

I can totally see that teaching is not a job or a career, but a vocation. You have to want to do it, you need to have the love for it, in order to do it well. And from that, get the results you hope to achieve.

One day…. I hope, it will happen. I’ll be able to do the job I love fully, with the support of my colleagues, and I already know I have the support of my family behind me!

What do you think? Born to teach or taught to teach?

91 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. taughtbytess
    May 07, 2018 @ 01:09:33

    I see that in my personal experience that I was born to teach. I believe that teachers come to their position due to a lifelong love and passion of educating children. I always knew this is where I wanted to spend 2/3rds of my life working. However, I am not excluding the teachers that ended up in this position as being faulty or less suited for this job, I believe the teachers that “are not born a teacher” excel fantastically at the subject they are teaching and due to the fact they are well informed and passionate about the subjects being taught the children/ students have a wonderful opportunity to education whichever teacher they encounter.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. kbstokes2
    Apr 22, 2018 @ 01:42:36

    kirstenstokes.com share it, subscribe to it, comment on it, learn from it, and enjoy it!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Tom Czaban
    Apr 16, 2018 @ 05:45:59

    Great article! I’m not so sure that people are born to teach though. For me it has been a learned skill, and with the increasing competence comes more enjoyment and better results

    Like

    Reply

  4. kbstokes2
    Mar 30, 2018 @ 23:16:01

    kirstenstokes.com

    Like

    Reply

  5. ink for English.
    Mar 04, 2018 @ 07:19:59

    I can relate to most of the things in your article. I’m born to teach and there had been a phase where I wanted to do something else but at the end of the day I enjoy living my childhood dream of being a teacher.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  6. Claire Saul (PainPalsBlog)
    Mar 02, 2018 @ 19:41:00

    Born, definitely! i would say the same for nursing too….I always wanted to teach, and then found myself getting a nursing qualification for teaching on the wards. I loved teaching students and HCAs, whereas others moaned and found it a chore. Then as you know, when the nursing went to pot, I became a governor(EYFS) and now am a chair of an alumni committee & arrange careers events for secondary school kids. Since being at home as my carer, hubby has become a sports TA at the primary school and goes on all the residential trips. People ask us why we do it…..because seeing kids grow and shine is the best thing ever! If I may give my humble opinion I think you should go for it, Ritu!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Mar 02, 2018 @ 20:09:39

      Thank you Claire. See… some of us are destined to go a certain way! Shortly after I posted that I did go for it and have bern teaching for 3 years now… properly!!!!πŸ’œ love how you are both doing what you wanted to in strange ways too xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  7. OIKOSβ„’-Redaktion
    Mar 02, 2018 @ 15:56:05

    I alo think you have to be born to teach. Mabe you can learn the basic skill, but teaching should come from heart. How else could you manage a crowd of loud children over years? LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  8. OIKOSβ„’-Redaktion
    Mar 02, 2018 @ 15:53:11

    Reply

  9. Jennie
    Mar 02, 2018 @ 14:50:30

    Born, yes!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  10. Davy D
    Mar 01, 2018 @ 15:32:14

    Good post Ritu and I think we are all born to be what we want to be. The difference between being competent or being inspiring is the passion we hold for what we do. It is obvious from reading your posts that you have a wonderful passion for teaching and learning and that is why you have found what it is you were born to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  11. indishe
    Mar 01, 2018 @ 14:46:27

    You need aptitude and patience to teach others.
    But aren’t we teachers in some way or the other as we teach our children at home, our siblings and so on.
    It comes to you
    Where there is a will, there is a way

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  12. susielindau
    Mar 01, 2018 @ 14:15:09

    I always had thought it was “a calling.” I was right! It takes a special kind of person to have the patience and passion for teaching. I bet you are fantastic with all your energy!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  13. Carol
    Mar 01, 2018 @ 13:56:17

    Definitely, you were born to teach Ritu just like I was born not to teach…It would be my worst nightmare…truly…a class of children Ohhhhh no!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  14. angelanoelauthor
    Mar 01, 2018 @ 12:38:42

    Isn’t it funny how we find our callings? I wanted to be a writer, and thought I could be right out of college. But various things kept convincing me that wasn’t the right path for me. And then, twenty years later I find my new job that lets me indulge in writing (of a sort) and my other great passion–exercising my curiosity and love of people. It’s not when we come to understand what we’re meant to do, but THAT we do come around eventually.
    I’m so glad your mum intervened when you were feeling low, and that you answered the call to return to school as it invited you in again. I’m sure little people are the better for it.

    Liked by 1 person

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  15. hotmessmemoir
    Mar 01, 2018 @ 12:07:52

    I bet you are an amazing teacher! I believe that like leaders/bosses, you either are born with it, or you aren’t. Hence why I become so frustrated with people in leadership positions that are only there b/c they’ve worked at the company the longest. Teachers are a lot like leaders.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  16. suzie81speaks
    Mar 01, 2018 @ 11:10:53

    I think there has to be something that already exists in someone’s character that makes them a good teacher – being able to be naturally caring and understanding of children isn’t something that can be taught in my experience…

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  17. anhistorianabouttown
    Mar 01, 2018 @ 11:08:18

    I think born to teach! I am the most impatient person ever – even though I have the knowledge to pass on, I don’t have the patience to continually work through it. Truly gifted teachers have the whole package!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  18. Kelsey @ There's Something About KM
    Mar 01, 2018 @ 10:43:05

    My mom is a teacher, and from her (primarily) I’ve learned that effective teachers are those who were born to teach. To get through and around that red tape, those restrictions (often set by people who are very distant from the schools and the nitty gritty details of education, or, like you mention, are only concerned with test scores and not those living beings doing the tests), you must have the passion and the drive, and that cannot be taught in any course. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  19. fancypaperblog
    Mar 01, 2018 @ 09:05:47

    I think the traits that makes you better have to be in you. Truly x

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  20. Debbie Harris
    Mar 01, 2018 @ 08:54:39

    I’m so glad to hear you’ve gone on to have your own class, it sounds like you’re a born teacher. It’s not easy but it can be rewarding and very worthwhile. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  21. Shailaja V
    Mar 01, 2018 @ 08:05:44

    Can I hug this post? Please? I was a teacher and it was one of the biggest regrets of my life that I had to quit. Not that I regret the reason (having my daughter) but I missed teaching. My students loved me and I, them. Many many years later I am teaching again, but this time it’s blogging and it’s online and I love it when I make the connections, make people learn and I get that value in return. Pays a pittance πŸ˜‰ But the returns are immeasurable!

    You are right where you should be, Ritu. I believe this!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  22. willowdot21
    Mar 01, 2018 @ 07:00:58

    I think a truly good teacher is born! You can be taught and be brilliant. Yet the few who touch the hearts and minds of their students are born. I believe you are a born teacher Sis. πŸ’œπŸ’œ

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  23. mindyourwings
    May 14, 2015 @ 12:31:22

    Hello Ritu!!! I interact and teach kids 3-9 years. At this age its just not the skill, but patience and passion too. A good teacher can be made.. but the teacher who made a difference, is who was passionate about teaching. If great leadership cannot be nurtured or taught… a great teacher cannot be taught either…

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  24. Thumbup
    May 14, 2015 @ 00:37:25

    Born to teach.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  25. Leanne
    May 13, 2015 @ 21:59:34

    I think it’s both. Some people are just born to be teachers (including leaders), and some can be taught to be teachers. I think it’s the combination of intelligence, confidence, management, a spoonful of fun, and a skosh of magic, all of which (from what I read so far) you possess in excess!

    There are lengths and lengths of red tape and “results, results, RESULTS!” which are so boring and restrictive, unfortunately. Those are just some of the repellents, but I could see a change in job/career choices would lead you back to your destination. You will be a wonderful teacher! Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  26. joeyfullystated
    May 13, 2015 @ 18:12:14

    I agree it’s a great compliment. I believe I was a born teacher. Yeah, I got the degree and the license, but I stopped teaching professionally a long time ago. You’re right, it’s too much bureaucracy and teachers don’t get paid near enough for what they do. One dynamic teacher can change an entire life. How any elementary teacher makes it through without a TA is beyond me.
    I still teach all the time, it’s one of my greatest joys πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

    • Ritu
      May 13, 2015 @ 18:27:53

      It really is the best feeling, standing in a classroom, knowing you have possibly helped a class full of children learn something fundamental, and if not, that you might have taught a lesson that they might remember forever!

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply

  27. Raymond
    May 13, 2015 @ 13:28:53

    I wasn’t cut to be teacher but you are. To think of it let’s come back to our first mission but have you forgotten about that? Pirate Life! I am the king who have abandoned the kingdom to join you as a pirate. #getlost

    Liked by 2 people

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  28. The V-Pub
    May 13, 2015 @ 13:04:10

    I think born to teach. It’s a gift and a calling that the best teachers answer to.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  29. Jim
    May 13, 2015 @ 11:50:09

    I think it’s “Born to be Wild” but that’s just me. Hey! That was a Steppenwolf tune. Just start humming it. Then start a rocking to it.

    “BORN TO BE WILD!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    is the tune stuck in your head now?

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  30. adreamerintheworld
    May 13, 2015 @ 11:33:07

    Sadly in my country people who don’t have high marks at school use to study for being a teacher, not because of vocation. I’m totally agree with you, be a teacher is a vocation.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  31. edwinasepisodes
    May 13, 2015 @ 11:24:43

    I believe it is a vocation, and that you are ‘born to teach,’ However, I also think that of course you have to study in order to be able to learn some of the academic skills that are needed for the job. The fact that you are so enthusiastic and dedicated, plus your desire to inspire children certainly makes you a ‘born teacher’ in my eyes, and one that a child would be very lucky to have. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  32. Pottsy
    May 13, 2015 @ 11:02:38

    That was an interesting read! It’s a shame that your college experience quenched your innate passion to teach but I’m glad that you returned back to the classroom eventually. I think you can probably teach certain skills about how to be a good teacher but without the enthusiasm you either have or don’t have for the profession you can only be a good teacher as opposed to a great one. I like the idea of teaching as a vocation, definitely all my favourite teachers were the ones that were the most passionate about their subjects and about helping us to get to grips with these.

    Liked by 2 people

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  33. wafflemethis
    May 13, 2015 @ 10:51:58

    I think that only a few of us actually find our trie vocation in life. I have as a builder, its what i do its what i am its what i feel confortable with and no matter what your calling is in life we are left to feel honoured and appreciate what we do. The sad thing is that some people will go through their entire life just doing a job and will never experience the satisfaction of doing something they truly love. Great blog by the way. Such passion and that is the bit that cannot be taught😊

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  34. susieshy45
    May 13, 2015 @ 10:24:28

    Ritu,
    Thanks for the frank share ! As to your questions, I agree that you need to have that josh, that talent and that inherent drive and love for children to be a good teacher.
    One of my teachers in medical school made so much fun of my performance in a test one day, that it turned me away from his classes for ever and this from a person who was supposed to be good with patients and an excellent doctor. I believe that a good doctor and a good teacher stem from good human beings. They should have that love for their fellows and a determination to do genuine good rather than pass through life.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  35. Erika Kind
    May 13, 2015 @ 09:07:02

    Sometimes we need to take some detours in order to gain necessary knowledge and experiences for eventually arrive well prepared at the place we were always meant to be! Wonderful journey, Ritu!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

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