It’s just one more class. You’ve been in various classrooms for 5 years now; seven if you count the first two years of teaching in high school. Hey, you’re practically an expert! You’re in the best job you could have, one that you not only love so much but are also very good at.
Granted they are all CEOs of multinational companies all around the world but hey–it’ll just be another class. Right?
I looked at myself at the mirror and started to feel dismayed. I should have chosen another blazer, I should have bought those stud earrings, and why did I forget to bring the right shade of lipstick? But then I recognized the familiar stance, saw the faint but distinct glimmer in my eyes, the ghost of a knowing smile. That was when I realized I was not nervous–I was excited. And who wouldn’t be, with the amount of new things I could potentially learn!
Thirteen years ago, I signed up for this vocation without any love for it. It was a choice of convenience, something to just pass the time with. Until I got a taste of the job: teaching. The creativity that was necessary to come up with a class where any boring lesson can be turned into a relevant and memorable experience gave me the challenge that engaged me indefinitely. The idealism that pushed me to be better and be right kept me on my toes and gave me a fear of stagnancy. The wide eyes, oh the wide eyes of that light-bulb moment when something finally makes sense that their understanding actually becomes tangible. That was when I realized how easy it is to fall in love with this job.
And I kept falling, over and over again. You know how it is when someone who is in love sees the same face everywhere they go? That’s true, I suppose, because I saw the opportunity to teach for every time I get to assist someone when I got myself into customer service. I felt the same need to learn something new, the same determination to find another way to resolve a problem, the same happiness every time I am appreciated. Only this time I had to do this within the shortest time I could manage. I had creativity and idealism, and I added efficiency to the list. Efficiency and the importance of precision even under pressure.
I craved for more. And why not, when there’s always an opportunity? When I got into training, I thought I am in the best place I could be because then I am doing the two things I do best: teaching and customer service. It turns out I was wrong. I am in the best place I could be not because I’m good at what I do but because in order to stay good at what I do, I have to keep getting better. I realized that there is always a story better than mine, a personality stronger than mine and yet, there are still those that rely on me. I owe it to my students to be better than what I already am, so that I could share to them what I learned. I realized that being a teacher is not giving them a list of things to learn, but sharing to them what you have learned so that they could be as good as you are. One of the best feelings in the world is having someone promise you that they will get better and try to be like you, and I have been very, very lucky to be told that. When students come back and you see that they are so much better than when they left your classroom, you tell the world that you’re proud of them but in fact, secretly you’re proud of yourself because you know that you made them better.
So I have to be better. I have to walk the talk and be able to look at my students in the eye and tell them, from experience, how stage fright feels like so yes, of course, I can relate to them. I have to learn new things, listen to more experiences, understand more ideas, and I could not wait to get back to my classroom and be more.
Start walking, L. Face just one more class.