Many things have been said of the teaching profession “It is the noblest of all professions.” It’s a many-splendored thing”. “It’s a many-sided task”. Its rewards are many, except material.” (More is said about the teaching profession in a separate course in The Teaching Profession.)
Why be a teacher? The answer you give will determine your success or failure in the classroom. If your overriding motive is money, you are in the wrong profession. Teaching has its own rewards except money. If you insist on a teaching career with money as your main motive, I am afraid you will find yourself miserable. Do not pass on this misery to your pupils or students, to your colleagues and superiors. Go elsewhere. Try trading, real-estate, or even hair-styling.
We hope you want to be a teacher because teaching appeals to you. You are attracted to it because teaching is fun. Having spent not less than two decades teaching in the classroom, I can assure you that indeed. teaching is fun!
Teaching is not just a job. It is more than a job. It is a mission to carry out. We, teachers, are called not only to instruct pupils in our subject (although this is our basic task and to do it well is a valuable service) but to be good influences on them. We, teachers, have the power to influence our pupils, to influence them to love learning. Henry Adams once said: “A teacher affects eternity; no one knows where his influence stops.” Never underestimate your power as a teacher. Never underestimate your power to make a difference in the lives of your pupils.
For you to have that inner power, never stop studying. Never stop learning. This is how you can keep that enthusiasm burning. When your enthusiasm for your subject and your teaching dies, the teacher in you also dies. When the teacher in you dies, you will start hating your subject and possibly, your students, too. You will be burn-out.
This is your profession. It feeds on continuing professional education. Ibis is your calling. This is your mission, to be a good influence on the young and impressionable. It is a very noble one. Our pupils and their parents, your colleagues, your superiors, you, yourself and God or Allah (who is part of your audience) have their eyes/your conscience on how well you will answer this calling or carry out your mission.
Fr. Joseph V. Landy, SJ, jotted down corridor conversations of students about their mentors:
Mr. Gonzales is the best teacher I’ve ever had. Knows Geography from A to Z and keeps the class hanging on every word. We’re almost sorry to hear the bell ring.”
“I’m glad have Miss Lim for history. I thought the period she was covering would bore us to tears, but she has a way of making the driest materials come to life.”
“What a bore Mr. Rodriguez is! He’s supposed to be teaching the geography of Asia but he sounds as though he is reading facts from an almanac. Geography used to be my favorite subject, but he’s managed to make me hate it as much as math.”
“Miss Santos was a real pill today. Sat at her desk and droned on and on about the battles in ancient war. Didn’t say a thing that our textbook doesn’t say better. We all fell asleep.”
With what group of teachers do you want to be identified. The choice is yours!