Be the teacher you wish you had as a kid.

Recently we have added an ‘expressions of interest’ section to our recruitment page on the Rolleston College website. A place where any staff considering applying for positons can register their interest in being kept informed regarding the  positions that will be advertised next year.

I guess this blog is primarily addressed to any teachers who are seriously considering applying to be part of the Rolleston College journey.

My message to any and all of our future teaching staff is quite simple,

‘Be the teacher you wish you had as a kid.’

This is not my line, I wish it was, but it is one I believe in. Think of what you wanted your teachers to be when you were at secondary school  and I am pretty sure you will come up with a list that will look something like this;

I wish my teachers were;


-Interested in me

-Understanding of me


-Full of belief in me

-Passionate about learning

I could continue but I think you get the idea.

No professional development course, no assessment process, no training and no book will give these qualities to us. The only person who can give us the joy of being a teacher is ourselves.  This joy of being a teacher can only come from within, it is one of the few things that we have control over in our working lives and something that no one can take away unless we let them. We can decide to be the teacher we want to be or wish we had, no one else can do it for us.

Of course this joy is fed by our learners but it is up to us to decide to be the best we can be, to be the teacher we wish we had or the teacher we hope our own children have.

I have posted a video clip below to help explain what this positioning looks like to me as an educator. This is my personal positioning but it has moulded and defined my view of what being a teacher means.

Put simply it centres on resolutely holding on to the child within. Never forgetting what it felt like to be a teenager, the hope, the optimism, the naivety and the laughter.

It is a clip of a song that became popular of few years ago on the back of the movie “Napoleon Dynamite” which was something of a cult hit about a decade ago.


In fact if you haven’t seen this movie do yourself a favour and watch it over the Christmas break. Maybe I should make it part of the application process.

“Have you watched “Napoleon Dynamite?”

I’ll think that one over, could be a good interview question.

The reason I have posted this clip is not so much because of the song, but more because of the footage from Cronulla in the 1970’s that goes with it. It reminds me so much of my youth. I was never a skateboarder but that is not really the important thing here.

When I think back to my time growing up in Levin all I remember is that there was an endless summer, we were forever barefoot and our hair was too long and bleached white by the sun. Our shorts were just too short, we wore pirate shirts and thought we were so cool. Our jeans had 24 inch bell-bottoms that got caught in the chain of out Raleigh Twenty bikes and we went up town on Friday nights because there was nothing else to do.

Watching the start of the video, how well I remember the skinned knees and the grass burns from playing football on fields baked hard by the sun.

I remember endless evenings of kicking a ball around Playford Park, playing guitar [badly], walking the dog over endless paddocks and playing in the street until we were called in.

I remember being so full of hope and spending so much time laughing. All my life I have tried not to forget that feeling and, when life does get a little bit too serious, I always try to think back to those days and rediscover that hope and confidence.

If I can hold on to these memories then maybe, just maybe I can recognise that youthful hope and optimism in my students and, if I can recognise that then maybe, just maybe I can appreciate it and help nurture it.

As someone much wiser than me said;

‘If you are not having fun than you are doing something wrong.”

So to me, part of being the teacher I wish I had is making sure that I always remember and cherish the memories of the teenager I was. In doing so I remember that whatever it is we are doing, it should be fun.

I do believe that the teenager I was is not so very different to the teenagers I have taught, the world may have changed but I am not so sure that the kids have changed that much.




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