Why I Love Being What I Am : A Teacher
‘So, you are a lecturer?,’ asked one of the many aunties at a wedding, looking at me with some surprise and more disdain. ‘But you did engineering right? Both my sons are in the US, high flying corporate jobs.’ she boasted, as she settled down beside me with her juice and starters.
I was used to these taunts all the time but today I finally decided to clear the air, I had lots of time, it was a wedding.
‘Oh Aunty, corporate jobs…they aren’t adventurous or exciting enough for me. I want my job to be full of surprises, excitement and fun. A software job wouldn’t give me all that.’ I retorted.
She looked shocked, but didn’t stop, ‘And what excitement does teaching give you, it’s so easy..’
Yeah. Standing in front of a bunch of hundred odd teenagers, grabbing their attention, looking into their eyes, screaming at the top of your voice and getting a positive response from all of them is definitely easy.
I rephrased my thoughts, ‘Auntyji, what would you say when I have to deliver ten different presentations, every week, in front of a crowd close to a hundred students, each with a different attitude, a different mindset, each of them judging me, analysing every word I speak and ready to rip me off at my slightest blunder? And mind you, my audience is not a small group of well groomed adults who would tolerate a bad presentation. A gang of youngsters is a different story altogether.’
And while lecturing her, I imagined how confident and well prepared you should be when you face your class. But that feeling when you finally capture their interest, interact and discuss with them, stir their young minds, encourage doubts, solve them and at times learn from them, win their respect and friendship…that satisfaction and love couldn’t be expressed in words.
Aunty didn’t give up, ‘It must be really monotonous, taking lectures all the time.’
I was genuinely surprised, ‘How can my life be boring when I’m always surrounded by young people? I’m always updated with all the latest fashion trends. There is always a flurry of activity, technical festivals, cultural festivals, sports and debates.’
Aunty now attacked me with the deadliest weapon, ‘TEACHER’S SALARY.’ I smiled calmly, ‘Aunty, no job would ever give me the satisfaction of being a teacher, a friend and an adviser, all rolled into one. We have no deadly office politics in college, the better you teach, the more popular you become. And your success only encourages others to teach better. A nod of acknowledgement, a frown of doubt, a request for advice and a smile of appreciation from students makes a teacher’s day.’
As Aunty sat there dumbfounded, I rose to refill my juice, but not before firing my parting shot,
‘There are some things money can’t buy… for everything else… well… you have corporate.’
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