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Teaching Sucks

Karla Singson explains the hardships of a teacher, and how it is always turned around by the natural rewards of teaching.

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Let me tell you one thing: teaching sucks. But let me tell you how, and of course, how much.

Looking back, I couldn’t believe I spent a huge chunk of my life teaching. Of course, not professionally, but it was still, in its very essence, teaching. If your criteria is a visual aid and lectures, then my activities all fit.

From 2nd year to 4th year high school, I taught catechism every summer at our local parish. From 2nd year to 4th year college, I taught debate and public speaking in different schools. After college, I taught Marketing in Ateneo de Davao University – such rowdy college students – and also taught for JoBS Academy, another IT and Business school. I am not teaching now, but once in a while, I get projects that let me play teacher for a day or two, for PR, Marketing or Public Speaking. And yes, that sucked.

First of all, teaching sucks your energy. Mostly, you wake up early and/or sleep late. You are paid for the time that you spend inside the classroom but the actual time that you spend in delivering what you’re supposed to deliver takes more time than that. Imagine this: for an hour’s worth of lecture, you might need more than one hour of research and preparation, and when these kids take the exam, you’ll need another hour to check their papers. If it’s an essay exam (ones which I usually give to really measure the depth of understanding) I’d take an extra hour and 3 chocolate bars.

Next, teaching sucks your money. You don’t want to be late for school so you’d take the cab. If you work for a company, you’ll only be subjected to the judgment of your immediate superior. However, if you’re teaching (and a decent one at that), you’ll feel ashamed about going to school late so you’d spend 2 hours worth of your salary just to get there on time. Also, most teachers spend for their school supplies from their own wallets and what’s more, sometimes you’d even find yourself stressing over NOT having to repeat outfits. There you go.

Sometimes, teaching sucks your self-esteem. Your students are not listening. They did not do their assignments. Three quarters of the class flunked your exam. Are you a bad teacher? Well, if you got all three you might want to rethink your career but most of the time, it’s really not your fault. And yes, there will be gossip and haters and you have to face several judging people (Adolescents? What horror!) in a day. So really, every day for a teacher is a gamble on his/her self-esteem. You have to be bulletproof for that.

At rare and memorable times, teaching sucks out your stress as well. Once in a while, you get a student who adds you up on Facebook and tells you what a difference you made in his/her life. Or how you helped him get the job that he eyed. Or even those superficial girls who flunked your subject but only remembered how you wore your outfits excellently. These are the little things that make your day. These are the minute consolations that we work hard for and let us lick our wounds and get ourselves ready for the next day. These are the times when you actually forget this article’s first 3 reasons on why teaching sucks.

Teaching sucks your pride. This is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, we all know how humility is rare and precious nowadays. In teaching, there will be times when you realize that there are truths greater than the ones you thought you know, and that the students that you’re facing are actually, also, your teachers too. Many times, I always look at my students with pride and I am humbled by the fact that they can go so much farther than how far I’ve gone when I was in their age. And yes, there will be people who look down on you because you don’t have a shining corporate job and you shrug it off because you know that teaching and having teaching as a career is like having a secret heroic mission. And if you know that you are working hard to fulfill this mission, that, most of the time, is truly enough.

So there. You better look at teachers in a different light. Now you know how awesome teachers are, I’ll leave you to comment with your praises. ;)

This is an official entry to the The Learning Site’s Christmas Carnival. / Photo source