Jumat, 31 Agustus 2007

Why Teaching?

I've worked many odd jobs in my life--washing dishes, waiting tables, representing a radio station, cleaning vacation homes, in sales, catering, working at a library, a county fair, a call center, a law office, an architectural firm, a telecommunication and a real estate company--but nothing is like teaching. For the first time in my working life, I can say that none of these jobs brought me as much joy, and possibly stress, as teaching. I maybe underpaid but I'm actually loving what I do. At one point in my life, I never thought work can be genuinely rewarding and exciting.

For us teachers, we are also known to be counselor, security guard, therapist, babysitter, disciplinarian, appointment setter, event organizer, cleaner, and mom and dad to our students. Being involved in the students' lives gives me a sense of joy because, somehow, I'm making a difference. No one day in a teacher's life is ever the same but full of a myriad surprises from your students. It's a joy. A privilege. A gift of giving. A stress. A love. It's been awhile since I think of how to better others' lives and not just my own...

This is my favorite second grader--Callum Gordon. Callum is half-Thai, half-English and came to Indonesia about a year ago and couldn't speak a lick of English then. I was designated to be his personal tutor. Callum had a reputation of walking out of his classroom if he didn't understand what was going on. When I first started tutoring him, He'd often bite me, teasingly of course, and run around when I asked him to sit down. I didn't know if I could do it because I barely had the energy left after all day of teaching and to spend it on getting him to simply sit was definitely taxing. But then I sorta figured him out. When he ran around, I'd tell him to come back after 5 or 10 minutes. And usually after he let out his excess energy, he'd come back to me. Sometimes, he'd scream and cry and call me crazy when I tried to get him to read. I didn't want him to hate me, but it was necessary to threanten him that I'd tell his parents. Thank goodness, the kid still has the fear of his parents.

Anyhow, I think he has a crush on me too, as explained by my friend Chris. Well, I think it's mutual! When he sees me around the school, he often yells out my name and because of that I've become quite popular among second graders. Now Callum is spelling out words as he sees them on the streets and has made a significant improvement in his classes. I'm so proud of him!

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