27 Apr What 18 Years of Teaching Has Taught Me
Mr. Kai shares the challenges and joys of his 18 year long journey as a teacher.
I have been a 3rd grade Elementary English teacher for the last 18 years and if I could do it all over again, I would. I believe that being a teacher is a calling and that you are born a teacher. I realized at an early age that I wanted to be a teacher. Once I started kindergarten, I would come back home and happily pretend play ‘teacher and student’ with my younger sister.
To be honest, not all days have been a bed of roses. Some days, I would lie in bed and wonder why I chose this profession but, on most days, I go to bed happy, knowing that on that very day I made an impact on someone’s life.
When you are a teacher, every day is different from the other. There is no routine in your work and, therefore, you wake up each day expecting new challenges. This is one of the best things about this profession. You learn how to be flexible despite having your lesson plans. For examples, children learn and understand things at different speeds hence, you may need to take more time to help one student understand what the rest of the class already has or, a child may fall sick in school and you may have to get him to the hospital to get medical attention. It means whatever you had planned for the day will have to be done a different day.
Being a teacher for students of a younger age group means having to learn how to be patient to each child and understand them accordingly. As a homeroom teacher, I need to follow up each student’s performance on the other subjects as well. I have to ensure that my students trust me enough to let me know whenever they are having problems with whether in their school work or at home. There is no greater feeling than the feeling you get when you have won the trust of a student.
Another good experience in teaching is seeing a happy parent. Especially when a parent comes to you, thanking you because of their child’s improved grades or their once lost smile.
Additionally, I am constantly learning new things. For example, there have been many new English words that are a part of dictionaries today but were not when I started teaching and most of these words that I have learnt are from my exchanges with students. It always seems funny when I tell people this considering my students are less than 10 years old! However, what I can tell you is this: never under estimate what you can learn from a 9 year old!
As an English teacher, I work hard to ensure my students learn proper English and grammar. I believe that elementary school is where a child’s entire future is molded. If you think that teaching English to students in an English speaking country is easy, you are wrong. There is so much to be learnt; including proper grammar, spelling and pronunciation.
The change and growth in technology has had a great impact in our education system. With the development of online libraries and eBooks being easily available, information has literally been put in our hands.
In my experience, technology has had a positive impact on education as students prefer to read books from their phones or computers wherever they are instead of going to the library and reading old, dog-eared books. Moreover, technology also makes it easy to communicate with students about the timetable, exams and other school activities. Did I mention how easy it is follow up on their homework when I am at home? Well, it is!
Like I had mentioned earlier, not all days are good days when you are a teacher. There are many challenges that come with this profession. Some of these challenges include disrespectful children who will do everything they can to give the teacher a hard time, they refuse to do their homework and bully other children, parents who become too defensive of their disrespectful children and only make the children worse.
The other big challenge is when working in a public school you have to work within the government’s tight budget and do your best to deliver quality work. What 18 years of teaching has taught me is that you have to always remember the number of people you have inspired and those that you are yet to inspire. As they say, teaching is one of the noblest professions to exist.
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