I get amused whenever I receive different reactions from people when I tell them that I am a teacher. Some would look at me with wonder, while some with pity and regret. I can only assume that this kind of reaction stems from certain misconceptions about the teaching profession, the popular one being that, teachers are the most overworked but underpaid workers. If we would look closely though at other professions, one can say pretty much the same thing about them as well. People often have the tendency to look at the downside of teaching without realizing that teachers would probably rank the highest if a survey is to be conducted as to who among the work force feel most fulfilled about their job.
I never dreamed that I would become a teacher. It was never part of my grand plans when I was mapping out my future in college. I had already set my eyes on becoming one of those smart yuppies that you can see walking along the sleek streets of Makati. And I must admit, I did live the dream for a while, up until the time that God finally put his foot down when he realized that I should be getting down to the serious business of touching lives. I often smile in wonder when I think of how everything fell into place like a thousand puzzle pieces that fit snugly and perfectly into a whole when I finally decided to give teaching a try. I never imagined that I would go this far and actually love it this much. I feel like I have finally found my place in the world.
I love being a teacher because there is so much room to grow in this profession. You would learn many things that you probably would not even think of trying before. When I started teaching in preschool, I can’t hardly carry a tune or would have two left feet when dancing. By the end of my first year as a preschool teacher, I can belt out a mighty “I am a Little Tea Pot” and can do the “Hokie Pokie’ dance gracefully. I love the fact that I can be just about anything and everything inside the classroom. I can be a motivational speaker who can effect change, a performer and director who can move students into action, a facilitator who can bring out the best ideas from my students, or a counselor and mentor who can inspire positive behavior from students.
Like any other profession, teaching can be just as demanding. What probably sets it apart from others is that despite the endless lesson plans that need to be submitted and executed, the many papers to be checked, and grades to be computed, I still find enough time and energy to appreciate and enjoy the many simple yet extraordinary things that bring me so much joy every day. Burnout and stress are fleeting, and are things that can be cured by something as simple as a drawing from a student with a little note that says, you are the best teacher in the world. Though the pay of a teacher may not be as high as that of a salesman or businessman, the rewards are just as great, like seeing a wonderful transformation in a student happen right before your very eyes.
I am glad that God led me to this profession. I often imagine what I would say come judgment day when God would ask me to enumerate the things that I have done that would make me deserving of that one way ticket to heaven. I imagined that the architect beside me would eagerly volunteer that he built the world. The police officer at my side would be proud to admit that he purged the world of bad guys. The doctor across from me without a doubt would declare that he cured the world from sickness. The lawyer, who arguably would be the smartest looking among all of us, would most likely insist that he made everything right in the world. When I reach that moment when all eyes are on me including God’s, I imagine myself saying with all my hear t and with so much conviction that, I not only taught these people the necessary skills that made them the best in their fields, I showed them how to love and inspired them to care. And these are what truly move people to change the world for the better. For really, that’s how a teacher leaves a mark, that is how a teacher touches a life. That is also what made me love teaching, so much so that, I succumb to the call of this vocation without thinking twice.