I am a teacher. And am glad I am. Others are not impressed about it. They think teaching is below par compared to other professions. I don’t’ think so. My first hand experience tells me so. Among the many professions, teaching stands out. It is not just a profession. It is a vocation.
I used to think that I was destined to be a teacher. During my youth, I never thought that I will be a teacher. It was not even in the list of my choices. I shunned the thought of being one. But from the start, I was already directed to its path. At a young age, our family doctor told me that I will be a teacher. His comment was quizzical to me. My dream then was to become a doctor. But it never happened. I became a teacher. And so glad I did.
I left teaching for quite some time. I am a wide ranging personality. I wanted to feel how it is outside the academe. But circumstances in my life led me back to it. No matter how fun or advantageous other jobs are, with all its benefits that teaching industry can’t give, I never stayed. I left the other jobs in favor of teaching. It seemed that all the other work experiences were incomparable to what I get from teaching.
Why am I thankful for the destiny? After years of being a teacher, I can never imagine lose all the benefits that come with it. I know this can make you smirk or move your head from side to side. But hear me out! Let me tell you why. Here are the points I am blessed with:
Think of any profession that allows you to laugh and have fun while working. I can’t think of any. Strictly speaking, in other industry, you can only do it during breaks, after work or when in the corridor. The rest of the time, you have to be in a serious mode or else no one will take you seriously. It affects your output. That sounds so stressful right?
But as I teach, having a sense of humor is a given. You learn to have one if you don’t have it. How can you deny humor in the following situations?
- When you are faced with a student who is about to cry because her pencil was lost but only to realize that it was tucked in her ears? Can’t she not feel it? I wondered.
- What else can you do when a student blurts out (in the middle of discussion about fire prevention) “we use slippers to kill cockroaches” after you have mentioned to keep insecticides far away from the kitchen? He’s far from accidents, indeed.
- How else will I react when you are so emphatic about a lesson and as you impart it by making the lesson sound comical, a student will shout “You are so funny!” with matching loud laughter?
- What about when the student takes to heart the lesson immediately after reading the bible by saying, “I want to defeat Satan. Now!” Wow! What a conviction.
Only a teacher gets the best humour on the job. See why teachers don’t seem to age?
If you are a doctor or an architect or lawyer, the people you worked with or who knows you will not exhibit a fanatic mode on you. I have not experienced or observed any other profession getting a special attention in mostly anywhere. Unlike a teacher, students will not spare you from being the center of attention. They will shout your name or greet you in the streets, in the church, in the mall and even when you are about to eat your spoonful of food in a restaurant. Or worst, even when you are busy driving on the road, they will always find way to inform you (and everyone else) that you have been recognized. Sometimes it seemed stardom has been opened to you. But at times, it is quite awkward. Isn’t that remarkable?!
Who says that the teaching profession is not well compensated? Well, in terms of monetary matters, maybe not. But after sometime, I realized that kind of compensation hurts just a little. It might give some inconveniences on your lifestyle but that’s all.
Anything that is beautiful takes time in becoming – a quote I loved but forgot to remember the author. Sorry about that. Not once have I heard about teachers being paid forward. A former student who became a doctor shouldered all the expenses of his former teacher when she got sick. There are students who treat their teachers for lunch even though she used to be a terror in the school. A former student helped her primary teacher’s son land a job in her company. There’s a lot more stories about “compensation” of teachers.
Teaching pays but not in the most expected and conventional ways. Other professions might earn more but you can’t earn “lifetime compensation”. Monetary compensation is fleeting. A teacher sows and harvests best. Besides, a good teacher has already set a foot in heaven. They are next to parents in the upbringing of God fearing children. Agree?
Every start of the school year, I can hear James Bond’s Mission Impossible background music playing. Each year, I am faced with a new set of students to mold and guide. Similar to James Bond, a teacher’s mission is impossible. James Bond’s mission is even easier compared to a teacher’s. Bond can just self-destruct anything. But a teacher can’t.
There are times that it scares me to think about this. What if I fail my students in helping them become better persons? I get goose bumps at the thought of it. Sometimes, scary news about people killing other people or news about distorted ideas or children exhibiting disrespect for life itself makes me ponder. Was a teacher had a hand in this? What if they were my former students? Where did I fail?
There goes the mission of a teacher which most people think is the least of all professions. I am aware that it takes a community to bring up a child. But teachers must make a difference. Ask Henry Adams. He said, the teachers affect eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.
Is there any other profession that affects eternity? Keep in touch with me.
- Unconditional Love
Teaching gives you a firsthand experience of unconditional love. Students come in many sizes. Whoever they are, no matter what their economic status is, they get the same doze of learning.
I heard about a joke long time ago. It goes like this. Ang empleyado daw ok lang pagalitan kasi binabayaran naman sia. Kasama sa trabaho nia. Pero ang estudyante, siya na ang nagbabayad, siya pa ang pinapagalitan. (An employee gets scolded but it is part of his compensation. A student pays tuition fees but only to be scolded.) Sigh!
How true! Reprimanding students was not designed to put them down. It was more of changing mind sets. It hopes to redirect students to the right path in life. I guess students felt that, too. Each time an incident happened and a student gets reprimanded, students get closer to their teachers rather than turn away. I sometimes feel so guilty when they turn so sweet after an admonishment. What a show of unconditional love!
Anyone who exemplifies the role of a good teacher can tell that life is never the same again. Teaching is 24/7 job. Your role does not end inside the campus. Tough, isn’t it? It extends anywhere your feet bring you. I sometimes feel scared about the thought. But for the sake of the mission, then I will take one step at a time. I learn as I teach. I get inspired as I inspire. So, care to join the mission? Hop in anytime. Let me greet you, “Good morning teacher!”