September 5, 2016

The Anti-Teacher

I am the anti-teacher.

I am not anti teachers. I am the anti-teacher.

Having been a teacher myself for about 18 months, I understand the dilemma teachers are faced in the early stages of their teaching career. To be strict or not. To be the loved teacher or the frowny disciplined one. Before you chance upon the thought in your head that a teacher can be both strict and fun at the same time, let me stop you right there! A fun-strict teacher is a myth. What you may be thinking about is a teacher with a bipolar disorder with occasional ticks towards the two extremes whilst being a teacher. I was the fun one. Well, I wanted to think I was the fun one. I was the fresh graduate who, within a year, began teaching under-graduate students. Technically my super-super juniors. With not so much of an age difference between the students and myself, I started off on a chilled-out note with my class. A month went by quite breezy.

"This is so easy!", I thought happily.

Then one day, I snapped. When the class was particularly boisterous one morning, I ended up losing my head and shouting my frustration out. I did not call the class a 'fish market', I went for something a tad more creative and unique. (As a dear student, now friend, reminds me every year on Teachers' Day, I called them buffaloes)

I am not proud in the least of what I did because the pressure of being the cool teacher broke me. And this was just a couple of months into being a teacher. From that day on, I tried to oscillate between roles. The fun one some days, the strict one the other. But as far as I can look back at my stint and analyse, I just scraped by as an average teacher. The bipolarity of being a teacher coincided with the flaws in my personality and it spelled disaster. Nevertheless, I did have small successes, something which gives me solace. I did end up making sure academia was the focus and when I was through being a teacher, I came out of the college with more friends than leaving behind students.

This is the reason why I call myself the anti-teacher. Because in spite of how easy being a teacher looks, it is the most difficult job in the world. For someone like me who has tried a lot of different career paths in the last 9 years, this is the job I was most challenged with.

Like I said before, I did have glorious stints as a teacher. A year into the profession and I was getting a better understanding of the position I held. And yet, I knew that when I would quit, I would never want to be a teacher again. Teaching is the hardest profession there is because as a teacher, you are responsible for imparting knowledge and wisdom. And despite being aware of their responsibility, they have to be one of the most humble people you will ever meet in your life. For this realisation alone, I have the most respect for the teachers in my life. From home to kindergarten to college and photography school after, I have had the pleasure of being guided by brilliant teachers who have moulded my personality into what it is today.

Thank you Teachers.

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