I’ve had a marvelous experience teaching during the last few years. I’ve taught in the States, in Lebanon, and in Jordan. I’ve taught girls, boys and co-ed classes for middle school and high school. I’ve taught religion, language, current events and culture. And I’ve loved it all. In the course of these experiences, I’ve noticed a few trends among teachers that some of you might relate to. Many of you could probably add to this list as well!
You know you’re a teacher when…
- You never have enough red or green pens.
- Anything you lose can be found among piles of ungraded papers.
- You’re 25 years old and still look forward to recess and summer break.
- You change your tone of voice when giving in depth explanations, even when you’re outside of school.
- You always have spare tissues, paper and hand sanitizer in your bag.
- Your bag gets heavier and heavier as the year goes on.
- You notice grammar mistakes whenever you’re reading, even if it’s the newspaper.
- You can tell what your students’ parents are like before you even meet them.
- You grade papers anywhere – in your office, the meeting room, the car, or even the line for the washroom.
- You find chalk dust on your pant legs and other odd places.
- You check the chair before sitting down, just in case…
- You sometimes regret giving out your cell phone number to parents… especially after getting midnight calls regarding homework assignments.
On a deeper note, I’ve realized that teaching is much more than transmitting facts, or even knowledge. I’ve reached the conclusion that to teach is…
- To serve
- To enlighten
- To accompany
- To befriend
- To inspire
- To transmit truth in all its beauty, purity and greatness
- To encourage, give counsel and, when necessary, to correct
- To find goodness hidden everywhere and put it on the hilltop
- To treat each person as a unique individual of infinite value
- To completely give of oneself
In essence, to teach is to love.
Sounds like an impossible job? I believe it is. That’s why there is only one true Teacher, Jesus Christ. Only he fully knows and transmits the truth, and only he loves perfectly. All of us, no matter how long we teach should, in a sense, remain student-teachers, co-teaching with the Teacher in an effort to benefit more and more from his infinite truth and perfection, in order to pass on at least some of it to our students, remembering that the best favor we can give them is putting them in touch with the ultimate Truth.
“Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.”
Mother Teresa of Calcutta