Some people argue that teaching is not only a tiresome profession, but an unrewarding one as well. That the rewards are not that great, and that it is one of the most unappreciated professions. I have to agree to some extent with all of the above. Unfulfilling, unacknowledged when it comes to material benefits of teaching as opposed to other skills and professions.
Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to become a teacher. I studied accordingly and became one. During the first years of my teaching, when I was as young as some of my students, I used to look with pity on the old, gray-haired teachers. Even though I loved to teach, I couldn’t see myself still doing the same thing at their age. I don’t know why, I believed that I was not the type of person to be stuck in a system or a school, year after year doing the same thing without adding anything new to my knowledge. But due to some unforeseen circumstances I taught for twenty years, in the same school and strangely enough I loved every single moment of it. All things considered I loved it for a completely different reason than educating these young minds. Something I had never thought of before. As I grew older, the passion that these kids had, their zest for life kept me young and alive year after year. Each year I looked forward to meeting new students, with different personalities, different dreams, ideas and ideals. At the end of the day, regardless of how wasted I was I felt so youthful among them. I felt like a rock. And as Simone de Beauvoir wrote:
“For years and years my pupils gave me the illusion that my age did not alter: at the beginning of each school year I found them there again, as young as ever; and I adapted myself to this unchanging state. In the great sea of time I was a rock beaten by waves that are continually renewed- a rock that neither moved nor crumbled.”
Now that I am not teaching anymore, I still love it when in the mornings I see kids on their way to school, on the bus, or walking in groups, bags on their backs, talking, laughing, happy to face the day. A scene so lively, so joyful, so positive. And I know I miss those days. The days when time flew so quickly, when I was weary and exhausted from the day’s work, but still spent the night preparing for next day.
“One always has to wait until the sugar melts, the memory dies, the wound scars over, the sun sets, the unhappiness lifts and fades away.” Simone de Beauvoir
And now my days drag on aimlessly even though life is passing by. I look back at when I pitied the old teachers, and realize they were lucky in a way, for their days were anything but long and dragging. And now;
“My life was hurrying, racing tragically toward its end. And yet at the same time it was dripping so slowly, so very slowly now, hour by hour, minute by minute.” Simone de Beauvoir