So there's this dedicated day for the world's teachers. Wow. That should flutter me. I am happy being one and each day of going to school to meet my students, the completion of a lesson and the demonstration that students learned something from me are enough compliments.
How I wish that one day for a teacher could be spent by affirmation and some relief from the stress of educating minds, both the diligent and the difficult ones. That's just a wishful thinking, for me, since I learned to accept that I was called for this profession and it is my apostolic ministry. Teaching being the noblest profession is I think the most difficult one, for those who have imbibed in their mindset and life system what teaching really is.
So what should a teacher celebrate? I guess, those many small things but are not valued by many in the world: having a chance to have shared even a piece of knowledge that has occupational application; having inspired a soul to have commitment to a life-changing decision; making inattentive students laugh awhile; knowing a student answer right, but who happens to always be wrong; hearing a student think aloud even though his view differs from what is commonly held; getting hold of a student's painstakingly worked learning output; and definitely seeing a student graduate, who happened to have spent very long years in school.
I have personal reasons to celebrate when my students excel. I am happy too, when I see my students commit to changing their mindset and their behavior towards learning. I have met too many difficult learners, including those that some teachers dare not to take in their class. I do, because I know that my obligation to teach is not just a plain work at all. To me, the becoming of teacher is only measured by being able to help the "hardest" to be taught learn to fend for his own learning.
On each day that I would meet my students, I have a personal measures that I am making an impact. That count to my knowledge of how effective I am in the class. It is beyong the systematic measures of evaluation, that students answer by shading numbers. Call it hunch or mere gut feel, but to me that is the most authentic means of knowing how effective a teacher is.
One, when students volunteer to do some favor you ask. Two, when students really inquire on things related to the lesson. Three, when a student say's goodbye to you with a thank you when you dismiss them. Lastly, when students can remember your name, because that is one anchor for all other knowledge that you have imparted to them.
I am not a perfect teacher. No one is. But, I try to be one damn good teacher, by avoiding what I hate from those teachers I have had. Yeah, I did have bad times with some teachers: with my first grade teacher who blamed me for some else's annoying behavior; with my third grade teacher who did not include me from being accelerated because I was a transferee; with my fourth grade adviser who whipped me with a stick because she could not manage my talkativeness.
Even when I reached some age, teachers had hot eyes on me: with my fourth year adviser who campaigned against me with my classmates; with my college teacher who failed me in a subject she moved on another schedule that caused my failure because I could not attend frequently; and with a university dean who sued me and other student paper staff because we unjustly vexed her manipulative act to shut the paper down. I love you all my dear teachers, you have taught me so much from all those things.
I have been in the academe for more than fifteen years. I have taught local and foreign students alike, here and abroad. I have met both the best and worst students in several schools. Though at sometimes I envy my friends who are earning well in the corporate world, I find myself a million times satisfied with where I am. Money could not buy that joy I find in this profession.
When I run across students whom I have taught, and they greet me -- there I know I am a teacher. That is an affirmation to me that I am someone who have been a part of one's life at one time or another. This world can never be what it is now, without teachers.
Happy teachers day to every mentor in the world! To my teachers who taught me, thank you for making one like you. Thank you my Rabbi for making me a teacher too.