Hi to all my fellow teachers!
It’s been awhile since I last wrote a personal essay or reflection but yes, I’ve missed it. A LOT. So when the opportunity to do so came up, of course I volunteered!
The topic? Teaching or Being a Teacher….anything related to these as long as it’s inspiring and enlightening.
As the deadline for the articles approached, I’ve been thinking really hard as to what to write about. I was told as long as it’s anything about teaching or being a teacher and I thought to myself, well, it’s going to take a lot of nitpicking on ideas since there are a thousand and one things a teacher can write on ‘teaching’ and ‘being a teacher.’ Meanwhile, my daily schedule kept me preoccupied but at the back of my mind was: I need an inspiration about this…and fast!”
Experience has taught me that our students are our invaluable sources of inspiration! It is because a child’s heart is still at best, innocent, untainted, bursting with dreams, exuberant with enthusiasm and full of idealism.
And as I was doing one class after another last week, true enough, my students came to my rescue and on that particular night, out of that very ordinary and usual question that we teachers ask our students, “What do you want to be when you grow up and why?” came unexpected answers from 10-11 year olds that literally made me sit up from pure joy! Teachers inspire their students, you say? But that night, a few special students came to class to inspire me! Let me share with you how my online students inspired me that special night. Then together, we learn precious nuggets of truths about WHY we teach and WHY we do what we do.
Student A related to me that she was quite sickly when she was young and had been in and out of hospitals and had different doctors. Then she continued, “While I was sick, the doctors there were all very kind to me. They always tried to make me feel better. They wanted me to get well. I want to be a doctor and go to Africa. I want to be a doctor for the people there.”
Student B told me that he wants to be a policeman because he wants to help make his place a safer place for everyone. He said that he doesn’t want any “bad guys” to hurt children and old people. “I want everyone to be happy. If we are safe, we are happy. If I become a policeman, I will do that.”
Student C said that she wants to be a teacher. When I asked her why, she replied, “I like being with children, like my teacher. I want to help children to be good students.” “Do you think being a teacher is good?” I asked. She responded, “I think being a teacher is the best thing. My teachers in school are all very kind and helpful to us and I want to be like them.” Now teachers, aren’t they truly inspiring?
As with every day in our virtual (or face-to-face) classes, our noble aims are always to inspire, encourage, motivate and challenge as we teach our subjects and share our skills and expertise. But little do we know that yes, our students are by themselves, walking inspirations and source of honest-to-goodness kind of wisdom. They are tomorrow’s dreams and the world’s future.
Let’s ask ourselves these 2 questions. WHY do you teach? WHY do you do what you do day in and day out? The beautiful truths came right from our very students. I thank them for reminding me again why I wholeheartedly EMBRACE teaching as my calling.
1) IMPACTING our own ‘small’ corner of the world – Someone once said, “Doctors heal the sick, engineers and architects build sturdy roads, bridges and lofty skyscrapers, lawyers defend the poor and exploited but TEACHERS, because they are NURTURERS, SHAPE & MOLD the MIND, HEART and SOUL and by this, they IMPACT our society and the world at large. Theirs is the highest calling.”
2) MAKING a DIFFERENCE to each student we have been ENTRUSTED to. For my fellow teachers who are parents themselves, you very well know what this means. Parents ENTRUST their precious child/children to us. To ENTRUST means to give FULL CONFIDENCE to that someone we highly respect and whom we know to be CONSTANT learners themselves, teachers who are lifelong learners. They have every confidence that we will NURTURE their children as a loving and tender gardener would nurture his plants.
As a former principal and mentor of mine once said, “These are THE 2 core qualities and from these 2 spring all other valuable and admirable qualities of a teacher.” She further explained, “The rest of the qualities are something we can learn but these 2 will tell the difference between one who teaches because it’s a job that pays the bills and one who teaches from the very depths of her/his heart.”
Three (3) students: A doctor who will someday bring healing to people from a faraway country, a policeman who will protect his community from any danger ensuring that it is safe for everyone, a teacher who will someday impact the world by making a difference in her students’ lives. Three and multiply that by as many students as what we shall be ENTRUSTED to, and we hold in our hands the very future of the world – their dreams, hopes, ideals, aspirations and successes yet unfulfilled! The question that remains and one we ought to ask ourselves EVERY DAY of our teaching life is, “How am I NURTURING this young mind and soul who will someday IMPACT the world?”
If my students impact the world someday in various ways that make it a better place for everyone, only then shall I be truly thankful that my passion and love for teaching has done this world some good.