I am the luckiest person on the planet. Seriously.
I had no intentions of blogging today; I had the most intense, most exhausting day of the week (Thursdays are always exhausting. A blow since I really love Thor’s Day of all days), and I still feel lost in Muggle school despite clocking in three weeks’ worth of hard labor post-Sabbatical leave. Barely had time to have lunch, not just today but for the past few weeks, yes (I find this to be the most oppressive, believe me), and even if there was time (say, 10 minutes?), I still can’t eat properly anyway (I had Magnum ice cream this afternoon as a reward for all my hard work the entire week and I almost cried out of frustration when I couldn’t even bite the hard chocolate exterior because of my braces. Tragedy of Greek proportions, I tell you).
And here I am, trying to string a few words before the clock hits midnight.
It’s the eve of World Teachers’ Day and for some reason, I just felt an intense desire to say a few things, being a teacher myself.
You see, I was about to hit the bed when I got this email from a current student. It caught me by surprise because I was just thinking of this student (let’s call him. . . okay, fine, Harry) the entire afternoon. Why? Because I . . .hmm. . . how shall I put it? I didn’t think I was getting through Harry. I didn’t sense any kind of . . . oh what’s the word? Either I’ve lost my way with words because I haven’t blogged in a while, or maybe there just isn’t a good word for what I want to say. It’s just that. . . I was a tad irritated with Harry’s seeming nonchalance in class. Like there is no interest at all to learn. I find it all too irritating, truth be told. I felt frustrated as a teacher. It’s as if I’m not making any difference at all with this one student.
I know, I know. Some of you might say one student in a class of 45 shouldn’t matter. But the thing is, it does. It does matter to me. And I know all teachers out there will understand. One matters.
So yeah, there I was reading Harry’s email and I was totally surprised. It was a personal email, not coursed through our mailing list. It was basically a request on his part for me to send him some stuff I used as reference in class because he thought the lesson this afternoon was very interesting, and that he wanted to share it with his friends. And then he went on telling me about how he was enjoying our discussions, and how he feels happy to have had the chance to enroll in my class. He even made it clear that the email was not meant to earn brownie points or for him to appear as a suck up (think whatever you want, but I believe Harry).
So here I am, keying away, thinking about how very lucky I am to have a job that makes a difference.
Well sure, my job pays me a lot for my services, and I am very pleased with how my University treats its faculty. Sure, I love the fact that I learn so much from my colleagues (some of the best and brightest in the land, mind), even if I’m quite sure they don’t learn as much from me.
But the reason why I claim to be the luckiest person on the planet is not because I earn well, or because I learn in the process of earning (but they do come into play, of course). I’m the luckiest person on the planet because my job offers me intangible rewards courtesy of my students. The satisfaction I get from seeing that gleam in their eyes every time they grasp a new concept, I tell you, it’s indescribable. The ‘ting’/lightbulb moment they experience every time they understand a difficult idea is one moment I always look forward to seeing. Again, no words for these intangible rewards. All I can say is that I am really lucky to be there to witness it. Practically everyday.
After one of my classes this afternoon (yes, with me practically panting about because of exhaustion), one student came up to me and told me that since the University is celebrating World Teachers’ Day, I should go to the Shalom center and avail of the free massage service for all faculty. I already knew about it courtesy of the email blast this afternoon, but what got to me was this student, instead of hurriedly leaving the classroom to go to her next class, came up to me, literally lined up and waited for her chance to talk to me (as there was a good number of other students asking last minute questions and whatnot) just to tell me, to remind me, that I should have time for myself. That I should celebrate being a teacher.
I tell you. I am the luckiest person on the planet.
I may complain sometimes about the work load (maybe loads of times, hahaha). I may express dissatisfaction over something insignificant (like how my classroom’s LCD projector has been acting up for weeks now and the tech people can’t seem to fix the darn thing). I may go on endlessly about the number of papers and exams I have to read and evaluate. But you should know, it’s just talk. It’s my old, tired bones making me do it, I swear.
Above all the annoyances and the petty grumbles, I do love my job. And I am grateful for the privilege of being part of this profession.
I truly am, the luckiest person on the planet.
To all my professors, I salute you. Whatever I am now I owe it all to you. Thank you.
To all my students, thank you for educating me. You may not know it, but I learn from you everyday.