A Proud Teacher, I Am
A student of mine from 3 years ago, named Apfan, recently came to see me. He is now in the third year of high school. I was so happy to see him. He proudly told me how his English teacher praised him because he was doing well in his English subject. He said that he felt so good about it that it got him motivated to do better. His teacher had asked him who his previous English teacher was. He said it was me and the teacher said, “Your teacher must be good.” And he said, ‘Of course, She’s the best” I felt like I was going to cry but I only looked at him and said, “Thank you.”
Many times, I’ve always wanted to give up teaching. I often felt like this profession wasn’t for me. But as I see the children I teach making progress, it feels so fulfilling. It always brings joy to my heart when they come to see me and tell stories of their journey using the English language.
Many children nowadays are losing focus on their studies. Often students don’t really realize the importance of speaking English until they reach a mature age. Their usual mindset at a young age is that when they grow up they could be a fisherman, a taxi driver, a waiter or a waitress or a seller at the market. They could earn enough money to live by.
Striving to get the children motivated is a challenge. I try to focus on employing different methods in the classroom such as songs, games, written activities and reading activities to make them interested and engaged. It doesn’t mean that everyone is into the class, and it can be very disappointing.
Family may be a factor in their lack of motivation. The majority of the students I teach have family problems and come from broken families, no one is there to guide them and it reflects in their behavior at school. They can be unfocused and not wanting to listen or their presence is somewhere else.
I remember I once had a bright student who was in first-year high school. He’d always ask to go to the toilet every time I came in for class and then he would never come back. I would always ask myself “Is my class so boring for him that he doesn’t even want to attend?” Sometimes he would stay for class but when he did, he would always show his rude behavior towards me. He talked to friends when I’m talking, he wouldn’t do his activities and would even shout at me in front of the class. At that time, I felt so down and disappointed. Sometimes I thought I wasn’t doing enough and I wasn’t good enough to be a teacher. I talked to the Thai teachers about it. I found out that he was abandoned by his parents and that he didn’t have a home and slept at his friends’ homes. His behavior was just a means for him to get my attention.
Every October when our school holidays commence, I always try to visit the village I stayed in and the school I taught at, 4 years ago in Angthong. This time on my fourth visit, I had the chance to see him. It was an emotional meeting. Tears flowed from my eyes upon seeing him. He said he’s doing well at school and thanked me for being patient with him in the past and for being his teacher.
I have always loved my job and I never regret being a friend, a sister, a mother and a teacher to the children I teach. Teaching English as a second language might seem to be an easy job but it requires skill and a lot of patience. That is what this career has taught me to have, and buckets of it. Teaching for almost eight years now, I’ve learned to be more confident in myself and most of all to be proud of who I am and what I do.
Seeing the students I have taught being proud of their achievements, it inspires me to do better and to be better.