“So which is really your passion? Is it teaching or writing?”, the school head asked me in a straightforward manner during my final interview with the panel. I paused for a while, smiled faintly, and paused again. Realistically, I could not give a concrete answer to such a crucial question.
“Both.” I resolved to say, hoping that it would give a closure to my self-delusion and self-paranoia. “I can do both, ” I reiterated my answer.
And that was the prime reason why I did not get the much sought after academic faculty position in that prestigious school. Days later when I began to analyze the repercussions of my behavior, I realized I should have defended my teaching capabilities more than my writing inclinations in order to get hired. Incidentally, I was applying to teach academic subjects and not to write for a magazine after all.
The aforementioned scenario led me to a noted K to 12 school where I was destined to display both of my passions in life. Fate gave me permission to explore my oral and written skills and relay them to my students who can appreciate my causes and pursuits in the academic world. In handling senior high school students, I was able to merge the inexplicable wonders of mentoring and penning ideas for the school community.
I am often pressed for a hardcore explanation why I chose the teaching profession. And just like most teachers, I find it compelling to be direct about the underlying reason for being a teacher. Thus, sometimes I can be indirect about my approach to the orthodox query: WHY DID YOU BECOME A TEACHER?
If I throw the classic question at myself, I have a temporal attachment to the matter. “I teach because it is part of my mission to share knowledge and uphold values to my students.” But is that all there is to it?
If I delve deeper, I may mention why I had to forego other tempting job offers in the past and why I stuck with the teaching post. In the true schema of things, I have formed an unbreakable bond with my students, both from the past and the present, a kind of bond that makes me miss them when it is summer vacation and there is no noise lingering in the classrooms, and when there are empty chairs and desks during quarterly breaks. I begin to recall their camaraderie and foolish pranks. I teach because my students make me embrace the fact that a person’s true happiness cannot be found on material wealth. Rather, my students make me aware of the awakening that in this life, you would be found unnecessarily soulless if you turn your back on your dire purpose in life.
Over the years, I have discovered and rediscovered the joys and pains of the teaching profession. There were times when I quit teaching, found a new lucrative profession, and then left again… only to return amidst the uncertainty of the situation. It has been a recurrent cycle of assurance and affirmation that I have been indeed been called and chosen to be a second mother, an elder sister and a best friend to my students. God led me to the teaching profession for a purpose. Dealing with my students has brought me much closer to my Maker because it is with my students that I experience the true meaning of companionship, generosity and above all, being entirely human.
Until when will I allow myself to teach? Maybe until my last breathing hour. And why am I writing this piece anyway? Because it by way of teaching that I can document the tremendous beauty and mystery of life in general.