This last month has been a true challenge and today, 30 days, an unexpected turn in work affairs, a sudden death in the family, a persistent cold and a sprained ankle later, it’s time I got back to the wonderful reality of the teacher. I don’t know how other people would react in situations like the above, but for me it’s been an overwhelming experience, mostly because everything was happening at once and I found myself many a time thinking “I can’t go through this” and the ever obvious “why me?” and “why now?”.
It took me almost exactly a month to accept that it’s all quite common and really very simple to get over; people often find themselves in awe when they step out of their routine and look at what they’ve been doing as an observer and not a participant – so I mentally went through my actions and presented a surprised “me” with the following bullet-points (and refused to write them down at the time, rebelling against the studious part of myself):
- I’ve been giving 200% of myself to my employers, only to receive a grand 0 in terms of behaviour and obligations.
- I’ve been stressing out over things that really were not my responsibility.
- I’ve allowed my work to become a routine which resulted in struggling with it.
- I’ve put my personal development on hold “until things get better”.
- I’ve been so stressed, I ended up having actual, physical issues.
- It’s not the first time I’ve gone through this – a rather unpleasant deja vu.
Having had time to reflect upon the situation, I realised I had only myself to blame for all that, since I was making the same mistake over and over again; and that made me even more furious, as one of my main mottos is that mistakes are essential, provided that you learn from them and not repeat them (and that’s further proof that you don’t always practise what you preach).
It’s a good thing when you know your abilities. It’s a good thing when you offer your service without necessarily expecting the world in return. It isn’t good when you not only get nothing back, but also lose part of yourself in the process.
#Resolution No1: Be selfish when necessary, never become egocentric.
Teaching is the most rewarding profession in the world; it’s not a job and if we see it as such, we’ve lost everything it has to offer. The greatest part of being a teacher, no matter the subject, is the interaction with students. Teachers are not there to tell; they’re there to guide. They’re there to show the way to become better, to welcome all ideas and tailor them to oneself, to be able to think constructively and choose what is appropriate at any given time.
Teaching a language is even greater a task; because you can’t teach a language without teaching about the culture behind and around it.
Most people can be language trainers. There’s enough material going around to help a student pass an examination, or interact independently in a language other than their mother tongue.
Not everybody can be a language teacher. It takes dedication and hard work and love for teaching and learning in order to inspire students with the will to learn a language.
That’s what had been lost to me for some time, inspiration; and you can’t convince anyone unless you feel inspired yourself. Thankfully, picking up on my own studies rekindled my efforts on my work. It’s been a slow progress, but progress nonetheless.
Again, the best part of it was that my change was immediately noticed by my students, who in their own way promoted it, cheered it and felt they “had to” keep moving forward the way I did. The discussions I’ve had with them in this past month have been at least thought provoking and have once again showed me why I chose to be a teacher.
#Resolution N02: Never lose your will to learn.
Our lives are defined by the unexpected; and, to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t, or don’t want to, imagine a life where everything is programmed and registered. I find it good, even relieving, to have a constant reminder that I am not in control of every single thing.
That doesn’t of course mean we shouldn’t prepare ourselves. We should be armed with anything offered to us, any knowledge we can acquire, but keep in the back of our mind that life might have something new for us around the corner.
Life is inevitable and so is death. The way we experience it has a lot to do with who we are, or who we choose to be.
I spent quite a lot of time going back and forth on my approach, but it made no difference until I actually experienced an unfortunate and sudden loss. It became clear then that nothing matters, unless you truly live, in your day, your reality, your surroundings. Unless you decide to see things for what they are.
#Resolution N03: Live today.
There then, three resolutions to keep me going. More will come along, I’m sure. For now, the decision has been made; no matter how hard things seem to be there is always good reason to keep trying.
I don’t know how things will come about and I can’t say I will succeed in becoming a good teacher. What I know is that I will not cease to pursue a future full of inspiration, full of learning and teaching, full of people who share my desire to move myself and the world I live in forward.