Sometimes teaching is tough.
Sometimes you don't feel like getting up and going back again.
Sometimes you think it doesn't make sense.
Sometimes you feel as if no one cares, as if nobody appreciates your work, your effort, your extra hours of dedication.
Sometimes you are drowning in piles of exams and bureaucratic paperwork.
Sometimes you are so stressed that you are completely blocked.
That's normal, don't feel bad about it, rid yourself of your remorse. We are teachers, yeah, but we are also human beings. Relax, close your eyes for an instant and remember, remember why you decided to become a teacher in the first place. Or perhaps it wasn't a conscious decision, perhaps the teaching profession just chose you.
Because you love talking, explaining and learning.
Because you are sensitive, imaginative and creative.
Because everything around you is a potential resource for your classes, when you are watching TV, going for a walk, or working out...here it comes! A new idea!
Because you really care for others and you think that education can move the world, making it a better place.
Because you really believe in the power of educated people.
Because you enjoy it, don´t you deny it!
And that leads me to the best part of our profession, at least as far as I am concerned, because it depends on a lot of factors, such as the age of your students or the subjects you are teaching. For me, the best part of being a teacher, and I teach at University level, are the students. Their words and their achievements.
When they tell you how much they enjoy your classes and how much they are learning, not from you, but with you.
When you see their faces and their smiles.
When you see them having fun.
When you see them concentrating on their work.
When you listen to their debates and their reasoning.
When you listen to their reflections.
When you see them applying what you have taught and creating something new.
When they are willing to participate and cooperate.
When you propose non compulsory tasks and they develop them, because you have managed to get to them, to motivate them, to inspire them. And you feel as if you have done it yourself.
When you collaborate with your students and you can see that they are proud of working with you.
When they exceed your expectations. And they always do.
A thankful word from a student is worth more than all the praise from external evaluators or anyone else. A grateful word from a student makes you feel so proud, so complete and so...happy. That is, happy and fulfilled. You are proud of your students, no matter their age or the subject involved. You just want to help them, to make them critical thinkers, autonomous learners and, above all, better people. Proud of what they do, proud of what they will be able to do and, above all, proud of what they are, as humans beings. That is why you became a teacher in the first place, to learn how to be a better person yourself, to learn from your students and to learn with them. Because they are the best, all of them. And you are too.
Don't forget it, you are the best teacher!
Ingrid Mosquera, PhD