It has been a number of years now since I started teaching at the local university. It has been very hard at the beginning since I was hired the same year I graduated.
My first students were my “friends” and “fellows”, and it was really kind of awkward being addressed as “sir” and shifting relationships from their “big brother” to their “teacher”. I soon got the hang of it and finally enjoyed my job.
It is ironic, but it is not only my students who are continually learning. It is a mutual process. I teach them lessons about their course, and in the process, they teach me life lessons. Well, here are some virtues I learned and developed from them.
Patience: Everyday I am faced with different kinds of personality. There are the shy types, the loud and noisy, the class geniuses, the bullies, the popular, and all other else. Dealing with each type all at the same time is never easy. These are college students, not graders or high school that you can immediately scare with words or certain gestures. Not that they are hard-headed, they can’t be simply manipulated. A good connection and rapport must be established first. And doing so takes hard work, time, and patience.
Respect: Related to building good connection is to show respect to my students, so in return, they shall respect me as well. It is helpful to be open-mindedness at all times, be unpretentious, and be logical. I am not the type who embarrasses people in public. I feel it is more appropriate to make them realize their faults, so that change will come naturally to them. Like they say, action speaks louder than words. Certain gestures can make them see their wrongs. But if it comes to worse, being frank but cool will help.
Chance: It is only natural to have biases. In a class, there will always be those who excel well and those who are not doing great at all. I foresee that the latter will fail the class. But miracles of miracles, those “weaker” students sometimes pass, and even top, my exams. We can never really tell. I guess someone weak does not stay weak forever. First impressions must be evaluated and give people chance to make themselves better.
Inspiration: The best reward of being an educator is to see your students not only doing well in class, but in life as well as they graduate and pursue their dreams. Everytime I realize my students are really learning from me and improving academically, it motivates me to become more passionate and effective in my job. And everytime I hear news that our students have landed a well-paid job, or that they are promoted, I can’t contain the happiness and gratefulness. Sometime and somehow, I touched their lives.
The beauty of our own lives is best seen when imprinted to others. Whether we are the students or teachers, we must somehow leave good legacies to each other.
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