So you have heard horror stories of teachers. Teachers being unpaid. Teachers being humiliated. Teachers not getting the respect they deserve. Teachers being abused by parents. Teachers who are crucified. Teachers who would have done anything else but teaching and even teachers not getting proposals as in marriage, I mean some of us!
Three days into my month long yearly break, I am literally celebrating my wisdom to return to teaching.
I had walked out of the school teaching 4 years ago, when things were getting very tough on the personal front.
I had decided to explore and I went to meet people seeking opportunities, trying to understand what lay outside my comfort zone. Luckily, the person I had consulted to find out about a certain opportunity found it fit to call me with a job offer exactly a month after. It was a challenge but I decided to take it up and did so gratefully.
I remember how my former colleagues would call me up and ask, ‘how is it mam’ and I would answer ‘oh! it’s nothing compared to the work we do at school’!
Many of my students inquired, ‘Why are you quitting teaching when you love it so much?’ I said I was going to do content writing. My students/children took to the belief that I was going to write a book, become an author and seriously and sincerely checked up with me for a long time, ‘How much have you written?’, ‘We will ensure that your book is a hit’, ‘When is it going to be published’,’Don’t forget to give us some credit’ and so on.
In fact one of them insisted, ‘ I know you won’t leave teaching without some reason, what is it, tell me, I can help you. I have a job now as a corporate lawyer’. These conversations became my strength and my pride.
2 years later I moved on to another company with a better pay but I was missing classrooms.
I felt the dire need to share. An opportunity came my way and I jumped at it and returned to teaching. Life seemed to have come to a full cycle.
Many young people hesitate to take up teaching. Thus educational institutions miss out on great talent that could have enriched the lives of many young people.
Here I present some reasons on why you should choose teaching as a career.
- Be with the young, stay young. Seriously, one of my former colleagues at Daly College, Primary School remarked that her husband chides her for her ‘kiddishness’ and blames the company she keeps for it! I too find teachers in the primary school, all so dressed up and gorgeous and gregarious mostly! Some of us who teach do actually manage to stay in high spirits.
- Challenge yourself. Nothing is more challenging than a child with a question and when it comes to many children with many questions, you know how that can get you to learning. One of my colleagues listens to ‘Ted talks’ while travelling back home everyday, she says she has to do this if she has to have something to speak to her students everyday. Makes sense.
- Holidays. Yes, teachers do get a fair share of holidays. Some schools are generous to give a winter vacation and a summer vacation.
- Keep it simple. The fundas of life are simpler in an educational institution. Yes, C.P Snow’s Masters (a novel) might hint differently but compared to other areas of work say politics, cinema, corporate, educational institutions don’t need much of your craftiness. Your employer might rather have you keep your mouth shut and at work,I mean, manage the classroom, complete the syllabus, kind of stuff!
- Good company. Maybe I am biased, but I genuinely believe that teachers make for good company, especially those who are forever learning, ready with stories, willing to share time and experiences. They are in general fun to be with, contrary to the depiction of us poor lot as dull and boring in popular media.
- No retirement. Actually, teachers like politicians and doctors mature like old wine and can go on teaching, consulting, advising like forever. I have seen some really senior teachers still in the business, they come as visiting faculties, they take home tuition, in general, you can continue to make others miserable, for as long as you want if you are a teacher, especially if you know some mathematics!
- Share your knowledge. You might be a journalist, a writer, a doctor, a lawyer,a social worker but you can take some time off to teach others and share your valuable knowledge with the youngsters who will get a real time understanding of your area of work. In a country like ours, there is an urgent need to bridge the gap between the educational institutions and the real world, perhaps you will like doing it too and may be, change many lives for the better.
- Gratitude. Gratitude is a huge factor in teaching. It might come late but when it comes it will lighten you up. You will be choked to tears with students’ expression of love and respect for you. Not everything is measurable,right?
- Facilities: Some educational institutions take good care of their staff. You might be just get lucky to find one, if you do, just stay on. Well,this is an area than can improve.
So to young people, consider teaching, it is a profession that keeps you grounded. To parents, please don’t discourage your children if they want to take up teaching. To adults/ professionals, try teaching some time, it’s fun.