“True perfection has to be imperfect”
Today I was unofficially claimed as the coolest and best teacher by my students. This is the exact energy boost that I needed while feeling inadequate and not mature enough (yet) to deal with the madness of this job (again). The thing is, being a teacher is not only about teaching them some chemical reactions or how the food pyramid works or explaining that the Universe revolves around the Sun instead of some megalomaniacs around. It is about leading, being a role model, an inspiration, a friend who is still able to discipline them when needed. Someone they look up to, someone that they feel close to yet still have respect for. I think it is even harder than being a parent (if not equally, I have no idea). And it requires a hell lot of maturity that I certainly have not yet possessed until now.
One of the students from the other class said today:
“Miss, why don’t you move to my class and teach us instead?”
“NO WAYYYY!!!!” a bunch of my students yelled in a solid, reflex objection.
Small, but priceless.
And then they added,
“You’re the coolest, Miss.”
Another once told me:
“Miss, we have a name for each teacher, and we call you “the best”.”
My face went burning red like a tomato, as you may have predicted.
I know it is still premature to be proud of my newly given title as one of the “best” teachers. Things always fluctuate and nothing stays stable anyway around here.
“What defines “best” or “successful” in this field?” A colleague once asked. “I mean, if you work at a company, you will know that you have succeeded from the number of clients you get or manage to convince. If you work as a manager you will measure your success by the level of your position, the raise of your salary. But teaching? What do you get when you’ve succeeded in teaching your students? Is it all strictly about the grades? Or is there something else beyond? How do we know that we’ve succeeded in what we do?”
The job is not at all easy. And teaching teenagers is even more challenging especially when your mood swings are often more violent than theirs. So what have I done to deserve such praise? Is it because I’m almost like their bigger sister? Is it because of how I look? How I teach? How I speak? What is it?
Then I thought to myself, maybe I haven’t achieved half of what I should be achieving after all. There are still so many flaws I need to work on. And one thing for sure, I have been nothing but imperfect. I haven’t managed the overwhelming burden for being “the perfect role model who has the answer to all questions” — it’s true, they ask me EVERYTHING, expecting me to explain EVERYTHING. Most of the time I don’t know the answer, most of the time I still blush when saying stupid things or making silly mistakes, there are times when I just burst into tantrum when PMS-ing and they act uncivilized as per usual. And I trip, I misspell, I still make awkward movements and comments.
I had learned to swim, in a shark-infested water. And maybe, maybe, that’s what makes me relatable to them now. It’s not because I’m a genius who knows every answer, not because of my teaching methods, or my English. Maybe it’s because I admitted that I had drunk, I had smoked, I had eaten a bunch of junk food instead of healthy organic ones. Maybe they are just looking for someone who is not perfect, and isn’t pretending to be. Someone who is not always contended and together, yet still put the most of the efforts to give the best.
Maybe, in this world full of prententiousness, where the innocent can be an undercover villain, all they are looking for is a bit of honesty, and genuineness in somebody, anybody.
There is still a few months left to conclude this. But in the mean time, lets just say that I am proud of me =)