Monday, September 29, 2014

I teach; what is your superpower?

"Have you ever dreamed of being a teacher?"

That question was popped by my student when she and I were having a session last Saturday. We were playing a sort of board game; something like snakes and ladders, only each box was filled with question. It was a game slash speaking practice.

Yes, I am a teacher; to be specific, an English teacher. I teach English as a foreign language for classes in an English school and for some kids (and adults too) as their private teacher. I've been teaching English since I was a second year college student. Now, teaching is my main job, or let's just say, I'm doing many things (that includes yoga and blogging), but teaching is something I'm currently mostly doing (if you don't count sleeping in, of course)

Back to the question, have I ever dreamed of being a teacher? The answer is no. As a child, I remember dreaming of being a doctor (that's soooo mainstream, I know), a flight attendant (cause my mom was, and she still is), an interior design (it's somewhat sophisticated for a 10-year-old girl to dream of being one), a journalist, a children stories writer (still dreaming, though), an I-dont-know-what-the-exact-job-is-but-someone-who-works-at-embassy, etc etc... but never a teacher. Not that I didn't like being a teacher (or didn't like some of my teachers back then because they were oh-so annoying and gave me hard times... absolutely not), it was just not my dream. Why I then became a teacher is another story. Maybe I'll share about it later on my next post. The point is that, yes I'm a teacher now, and though I don't consider it to be my forever main job (still have many things in mind, things I'm more passionate about), I love this job. Even if someday I  decide to take another job as my main job, I won't let go of teaching completely (talking about being a private/part-time/freelance teacher or someday a teacher slash *cough* mother *cough*).

Many people may underestimate us teachers, mostly because of how much money we make per month. I mean, come on, that's such a conventional way of thinking. Being a teacher doesn't always mean being underpaid, although, sad but true, it happens in many cases and still an issue (dear government, here's your homework). Better yet, it's not always about the cha-ching. Mindset, people. I'll tell you why I love being a teacher and personally think teaching is one of the coolest job ever:

1. It makes me (feel) forever young. In my case, my students are mostly elementary and high school students. Interacting with kids makes me forget my real age (which I get reminded again once a year on my birthday). I unconsciously keep up with them. Their favorite things, movies, music, the trends.. how being a teacher has made me a teenager again. True story.

2. Working with kids doesn't feel like working. It's like playing while transferring the skill and knowledge we have to them, only I'm paid to do so.

3. I keep on learning. It's very true that teaching keeps our knowledge and skill refreshed. Not only does it make me won't lose our knowledge and skill, it also helps me improving it. The students learn, so do I. Not to mention, brand new knowledge and skills like the art of taking care of different types of kid, the art of talking to children, the art of being patient, etc. I'm so proud of myself. Ha.

4. Being a teacher means expecting the unexpected. Everyday is a new day, and teachers take that literally. As for me, I always have stories to share after I finish my classes. One day, a kid gets mad at me because he's not allowed to play his iPad during the class (parents, hello?). The other day, a group of kids makes a horror movie script about a walking vegetable for their write-a-script assignment. I cannot walk into classroom and expect things will be just the same as the day before. And of course, you have to make sure you'll survive the day.

5. Teaching different kinds of student makes me believe that everyone is special. I have a 4-year-old student who's really talented at music. Not to mention, he has a very different musical taste compared to any other kids at his age. I also have a student who's really active, like a pinball, and never looks tired. I also have a student who's very smart, yet so talkative and sometimes talk too much that it disturbs the other students. Thing is, we cannot treat each and everyone in the exact same way.

6. The love from the students is one of the best. Even just a little bit of "Miss, can I sit next to you?" can brighten up my day instantly. This includes the love-and-hate relationships, too.

7. The feeling when the students enjoy (or simply understand) the lesson that we teach them is beyond inexplicable. It's something that money can't buy. James Brown has the words for it, though: "I feel good".

etc etc. (teachers, you may want to add something to the list)

I personally think that teaching is challenging yet fun. Not an easy thing to do, clearly. Most of the times, it requires me to think out of the box, to handle things that look impossible, and to push myself to the limit. Clearly, teaching is a superpower *smirk*. It's true that I never dreamed of being a teacher before, but Peter Parker never dreamed of being a Spiderman, too. And yet he's good at it.