“Why do you choose to be a teacher?”
“This is a waste of your talent.”
I used to hate it when people say these things to me. I would actually feel quite offended – who are you to question what I want to do? But to be honest, as I experience more things (both good and bad) in life, I realize that I didn’t like these questions because I didn’t have good answers to the questions. Lately, I have been thinking of these questions again and surprisingly, the answers came to me quite easily. I guess it takes some maturity in order to articulate my teaching philosophy. So here is why I chose to become a teacher:
A teacher does not just teach a subject. A teacher is also not the best friend of the students. To me, a teacher is a leader who sees the potential in his/ her students even when the students doubt their own abilities and say that they can’t do it. Not only does the teacher see the potential in his/ her students, the teacher also provides guideposts and cheerleads his/ her students ahead to realize the potential. In my opinion, these 3 critical attributes are really important in order to be a competent teacher: 1) the ability to see the potential in people, 2) the ability to provide realistic guideposts to enable different individuals to realize their own potential and 3) the ability to cheerlead people. All 3 attributes are important in order to help another individual to achieve his/ her potential. I feel that I am blessed with an ability to “read people”, a tenacity to research and read up on things that I do not know yet (e.g. different life/ career pathways) and an ability to encourage people in a personalized way and make them feel good about themselves. I don’t think that I am a guru in any of these 3 areas but I do have some basic experiences that may help me to help others as a teacher. I know I may not be able to do this for every student that I encounter and even if I try, it may not always work. Even so, it is still worth the try. Mould one child at a time.
That is why I applied for the job. It is my hope that no matter what happens, I can stay true to my teaching philosophy and continue to practise what I want to preach. Sometimes some aspects of teaching becomes some kind of number crunch but I still believe that teaching is, first and foremost, a human endeavour and it should always stay that way.