While browsing, I came across a few teacher-bloggers, and what troubles me most of all is that more often than not, they seem disillusioned and have lost their passion for the vocation.
Why this sad state of affairs, one may ask? Maybe it’s the workload. Maybe it’s the money, the lack of recognition given – especially when other less-deserving ones get what they are craving for or maybe the sense of achievement does not seem to be forthcoming, especially when the students are so weak and are not inclined to learn anything at all.
For one thing, if a teacher is merely going through the motions, teaching for the sake of teaching while waiting for pay day, the students will feel it and they will respond the same way. On the other hand, if a teacher puts his heart and soul in it, the students will sense it and appreciate it, even the weak or ill-disciplined ones. Why do students behave like monkeys in one teacher’s class – despite the endless scolding and caning and yet, they are comparatively much better behaved in another teacher’s class?
Teaching is a relationship – a relationship between teacher and students. Like all relationships, e.g. that of lovers or a husband and wife, what you can get out of it depends on what you put in it. If you can be selfless and look beyond personal comfort and material gains, you will find it more rewarding, that’s for sure.
In another of my English book, I had a passage on two brothers and one of them, a teacher, died…and the last paragraph reads: “…At Tommy’s funeral, there was standing room only in the cathedral – young and old, men and women, all of them his friends and students. It made me contemplate on the meaning of our existence in this world. Some people had power, wealth, status; but they often went about their lives in selfish pursuits. Then there were people like Tommy. He had none of those – no monuments built in his honour, no titles bestowed, no streets named – nothing but the memory of what he was would remain eternally in everyone’s hearts. He was their friend, their teacher; he was my brother.“
On 2nd December, 2007, I retired. I was 55…and a student sent me an sms which touched me more than anything. It read:
“Students hardly know or guess…the love their teacher can’t express. With thoughts he seldom says aloud, his heart is warm, his feelings proud. They do not fully understand his wisdom, guiding hand, each helpful word, holding love unspoken, hope unheard. Yet as the busy years roll past, they come to understand at last, the worries he knew, the problem times he pulled them through and realise how great it’s been to have a teacher just like him. With love and thanks for being such a wonderful teacher. Happy Birthday.”
The day a teacher receives something like this, he will feel that it is worth all the blood, sweat and tears he has put in his vocation through the years…and he can be proud to call himself – a teacher. I certainly hope this will motivate and inspire those who need it.