This year I quit my job as a teacher…
It was a wonderful place of work, more than work I would say it was a second home for me, for the past nine years. I had met some extraordinary people, incredibly bright students and made some amazing friends. And over the period of nine years, I had somehow managed to make my work speak for itself which lead to some wonderful opportunities for growth. It must be so, because otherwise there was no way a quiet and introverted person like me would have made an impression on anyone. So, at the time when I was ready to turn in my papers, I was looking at a brilliant prospect of climbing the proverbial ladder that only very few could dream of. And yet, there was something that needed my attention even more. Something that kept tugging at my heart strings…
As much as I loved teaching, learning and growing, I had to pause and take stock of things. My students were shocked and devastated by my decision; so were all my well-meaning friends and colleagues. Advices started pouring-in; from telling me that this was a stupid decision and that I would regret it sooner than later, to making me feel terribly guilty to calling it quits at a crucial juncture; I got to hear an earful almost every single day of the last four months since I let the cat out of the bag. I was so overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity of spirits of all my colleagues and their concern for me.
From colleagues, to students to admin staff to house-keeping staff, they came looking for me to pour their concerns over my resignation. My bosses were really upset and I had many a heart-wrenching episodes with them, which at some points, I almost thought I wouldn’t survive.
I guess you would understand how heart-breaking this decision was for me and how emotionally draining those months closer towards the end-of-the academic year was.
Today being Teachers’ Day, I am reminiscing all the past years of how I spent this day amidst my adorable students. Students from all levels would drop by to wish, even if I wasn’t currently handling their class. One teachers’ day, a child from class 8 comes to the staff room looking for me and ties a strip around by wrist where she had written why I was her favourite teacher. (that was the year when the school came up with this idea of tying wrist bands with the tag line- “what they liked about that teacher”. All my colleagues and I were quite surprised because we were teachers handling higher levels and we don’t usually encounter lower class students in our staff room. We were all curious. I was so overwhelmed by this one particular incident though multitude of students came in and did the same before and after her. That’s because I had just been a substitute teacher in her class for just one week when she was in UKG! Yes U.K.G…and I had never taught her or been in her class after that. Ever. And even after so many years…Can you imagine that? In that one week I don’t know what I had done that gave me a special place in that child’s heart, I really can’t fathom. Such is the impact of a teacher in students’ lives; you will never know what, how and when you influence students by doing what you do.
Today, as my whatsApp and messenger gets flooded with teachers’ day wishes, I am overwhelmed. When my fellow teachers sent me wishes, I Initially kept replying back saying “Thank you but remember I am not a teacher any longer”; and then I get a reply to that message that read “You will always be remembered as a great teacher and a true inspiration for others” and with that I stopped writing back that I am not a teacher any more. I just thanked them all and wished them. Because I understood. All the years of being a teacher and being part of many a student’s life, doesn’t disappear into thin air just because you quit being a teacher, does it? So here I am accepting each wish with gratitude and savouring the beautiful words in my heart to never forget what being a teacher to my students meant to me and what I meant for my students.
I will be forever in-debt to each and every one of my students and all those who crossed my path during those eventful nine years because each one taught me an invaluable lesson; in respect, in friendship, in kindness, in selflessness, in camaraderie, in hard work, in sincerity and in dedication.
Every class I went in to teach, I came out learning more. Every student I interacted with left me curious to learn more, to reach-out more and to deliver more. Each time I thought I knew everything there is to know, my ego was shattered by an unsuspecting innocent question from a curious young student.
So, my career as a teacher may have taken a back seat but the relationships I built over these years with my students and friends would continue forever… And the teacher in me will be a learner for life.
Happy Teachers’ Day!
Dedicated to all my gurus in life and all my friends who are doing a fabulous job as teachers! And to all my lovely students without whom I couldn’t call myself a teacher; they are the reason I strived to give my best. Each one has enriched my life beyond measure.
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