In this burgeoning age of celebrity teachers, is it OK to just be a teacher?
Teaching is a profession full of ambitious individuals but career development opportunities are limited. Some innovative teachers are now opening doors for themselves with social media being an important proponent in this process. Teacher bloggers and journalists, self-appointed consultants and even practitioners with thousands of followers on Twitter are pushing forwards and making a difference from a grassroots level. It's akin to Grime artists appearing in the UK pop charts. In the face of criticism from the media and the government, teachers are rising up - Pulp's 'Mis-shapes' springs to mind:
"We're making a move, we're making it now,
We're coming out of the sidelines."
And largely, these new celebrity teachers represent us well. I'm all for them. But it does leave little old me feeling like a Heat magazine reader - wishing for the finer things in life as they see non-celebrities become minor celebrities just because they went on a reality TV show once. I just teach a handful of kids and work with a small team of people - is that enough?
Well, the obvious answer has to be 'Yes!' Remember that time you saw little so-and-so in Tesco and they shouted "Look, it's Miss Thingumajig!" and then acted all shy when you said hello? You are a celebrity to the kids you teach. Remember when you found your colleague upset and you took the time to chat with them? You matter to her. You see, we all have our little sphere of 'fans', and on them we have an influence. And the reach of your influence is far greater than you might think - your colleagues' partners, your pupils' parents will benefit too from he work you do; the ripple effect is in play. Year on year you influence more and more children - there will be young people all across your district who have memories of you. It's up to us to make sure we're famous and not infamous!
You may never reach superstar teacher status in the eyes of the entire profession but to those you work directly with, you could be a superstar teacher. On whichever platform you stand, it is your responsibility to represent yourself and the profession well - you have the power to make a difference, even in, or perhaps especially in, the most difficult of circumstances.
Your impact is needed. Even if your name isn't up in bright lights, even if your face isn't on the cover of a magazine, even if you're not the talk of the town, you are a superstar celebrity teacher to someone.
Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/90544929@N02/24642416444/">Annouchka.Supervielle</a> via <a href="http://compfight.com">Compfight</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>