Thursday, October 18, 2012

A big dose of about face

My students during an earthquake drill. 
The other day, my friend said something to me that resonated.

It went something like this:

In America, people tell you that teaching is a calling.

It's your passion, your purpose, your life.

It's who you are.

Then, she called bullshit on that.

"It's my job," she said.

Reality check:

Last year, I worked in a school that degraded me, that caused me such massive amounts of stress I actually felt like puking every time I walked in the door, that appalled me on such a regular basis that I often found myself questioning my sanity and morals.

Yet I stayed.

"For the love of the children..."

"Because if I don't, who will...."


The truth is I should have quit, and it is my fault alone that I did not. However, my friend is also right; people speak of teachers as gold diggers (haha), villains, and heroes.

The truth is that I'm just Jackie, and teaching is just my job.

Much like a mechanic, accountant, waitress, or lawyer.

My life, well, that's what happens after hours.

It's the time I spend cooking with my sweetie, it's the time we spend together traveling the globe and creating memories, it's the nights spent with friends and family.

And these kids in Taiwan, they have allowed me to see this, to understand this, to find peace with this...

Here, I am a teacher.

They do not need a mother or father or disciplinarian or counselor.

Those are the people they go home to who teach them right from wrong and culture.

They do not need a savior.

They just need someone who likes them and teaches them and then goes home and lives a full life that does not include hours grading and fretting and planning.

And you want to know what?

They inspire the hell out of me.

So thank you, 8A and 8B, for showing me you simply need a teacher, and thank you Taiwanese society for doing your job, which makes mine so much more cut and dry.

8B, my homeroom, kids: they are pretty much the coolest kids ever.  


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