The Real Payback Teachers Get

38a763e6642f7e5416771b6f63f881a8I’ve always had a knack for teaching, have been doing it in one capacity or another ever since I was sixteen. Started professionally at eighteen and then came a long gap, the call of family. Even so I tutored (my own included of course). Though I can’t dispute that being compensated monetarily is a big plus (more so for those who need extra financial aid), it is not what drives us into this profession, or not truly dedicated and sincere teachers (of which there is a steady decline out there). No indeed. There is of course the bigger picture- service to your community, noble profession yata yata….. but being a teacher who loves her job, I would like to share what it is that makes us turn up for work one more day after being on your feet, talking, explaining, playing, understanding, making lesson plans, grading, running around only to realize you forgot the file on the other side of the school, even wiping tears on occasion.

1. When they ask Thought-Provoking Questions: I always get a little thrill when kids ask me out of the way and unexpected questions. It means I am inducing them to churn away at those little gears in their little heads.

2. When they GET IT: I know I’ve a done a good job when all the kids (even the tiny one who doesn’t say much at all) raise their hands when I ask a question related to my topic for that day. There is a humbling satisfaction in knowing you’ve done a thorough job- the equivalent of giving yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.

3.When they Trust you enough to Discuss what’s Bothering Them: You know you have something going right when the kids respect you, and yet when there is an issue that is causing them distress, they can come up to you and discuss it without feeling threatened. For instance, just the other day, a little girl had forgotten her speech at home and she came up to me to ask me to call her mom so that she could drop it off for her. Qualifying trials were scheduled that day. I told her I would do that, but continued to do what ever task I was doing. I realized in a couple of minutes she was standing right there, with a couple of tears precariously hanging on to the rims of her eyes. I knew that at this moment, nothing was more important to this little girl. She got her speech within the hour. The look of absolute adoration on her face is not one I will forget soon.

4. It’s all in the Smiles: Young children are the epitome of innocence and truth. The smiles that hit me head on every morning when I walk into my classroom are so heart-lifting, that it gives you that little bit of extra boost that cup of tea couldn’t provide. It’s the pleasure you derive in the smallest of things, but in its purest form. I took a couple of weeks off from school for maternity leave, the day I got back and entered that classroom, the looks of joy, happiness and excitement at seeing me just broke my heart. How children look up to their teachers I thought. The next day I was given an assortment of these:

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I rest my case!

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