Reflection: Why am I a teacher?

People would often ask me why I chose this career path and I don’t seem to have a straight answer. It’s hard to explain to be quite honest, so I just say that I like working with kids. However, that’s not exactly the main reason.

I want to start this by listing down the disadvantages of being a teacher first, then I’ll tell you why I haven’t quit yet.

When you’re a teacher:

  • you don’t get paid enough for everything that you do
  • you either stay at school late at night to finish work or you bring work home
  • you get disrespected by students e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y
  • your principals require you to attend meetings early in the morning or after school even when you already have a lot of work to do (you can’t blame them though, they’re just doing their job)
  • your principals require you to join committees
  • you have the worst schedule when you’re inexperienced, so you don’t quite have the time to plan interesting lessons
  • when you do have time to plan lessons, some students do not appreciate it
  • you are expected to shut up even when you are being insulted constantly
  • you are wrong and the students or parents are right
  • you talk or shout too much, you lose your voice
  • you don’t have your own classroom (unless you’re lucky)
  • you pay for your own Christmas party (lol)
  • you have to figure a lot of stuff on your own
  • if you don’t have at least five mental breakdowns in a school year, you’re a superhero haha
  • there aren’t many printers, so if they’re broken, you’re screwed
  • … and the list goes on

SO, why am I still a teacher?

If you think about it, our students spend most of their time at school. We spend more time with them than their own parents. We have the ability to inspire them or guide them to the right path. If I’m able to do that, it’s worth all the struggles we go through.

I remember during my first internship, a retired teacher told me that I wouldn’t survive in this field if I didn’t have the passion to teach. I thought about that a lot and the best example I could give is that going to school every day doesn’t feel like a job. I don’t say “I’m going to work”, instead, I say “I’m going to teach” and I see it more as a privilege because it’s an opportunity to change the world.

If all teachers give up, what will happen to our younger generations?

There was this week when I had a mental breakdown because students weren’t listening to me. Some called me names and it was just really tough. However, there was this one student who stayed after class and told me that they appreciated what I planned for the class. As soon as the student told me that, all the crying, the stress, and negative thoughts vanished. To be honest, most of the time, it’s that way. No matter how many bad experiences I’ve had, if there’s one good thing that happens, it’s enough to make me stay.

Is that passion? I’m not sure, but that’s why I’m still a teacher.


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