My Road of Life

Some people are born knowing what they want to do with their lives. Some people experience life before knowing what they are destined to do. These statements both hold true for me though they happened in different stages of my life. A teacher is someone I dreamt of becoming since young. A teacher is someone I idolize for their remarkable influence in one’s life – you love and hate them, you fear and respect them, you have so many mixed feelings about them, yet, you can’t help but hope to be like them, one fine day. So I began to dream for the day my life would change and I might be free and strong to choose, a ‘teacher’ I will be. This I believe, you do not need a teacher’s job to be a ‘teacher’. For as long as someone wishes to learn and I choose to teach, I am undeniably a ‘teacher’. 

Teachers are to me, the likes of world leaders – Mahatma Ghandi and Mother Theresa. They value individuality. They value education. They value life. What is education without truly knowing the purpose of living? What is teaching without letting your students enjoy learning? While many are blinded and pressured to go after materialistic achievements, the older I am, the further I feel I am from my destined goal in life. A life of a princess, or so they claimed I have. But even a palace can be a prison. The more I earn, the more I crave. The higher I climb, the more afraid I become. One dreadful day, filled with rain and stormy weather, I looked at myself in the mirror and questioned my existence. Enough is enough! I no longer want to live a life to please others nor would it simply pleases my lust for unimportant things in life. 

It feels like a storm raging inside of me, yet there is nothing that would stop me from walking down this road. I had no clue where I will be, how I will survive but I know this for sure, if I do not make the change now, I will regret not trying. And even if I fail I fail with dignity. There are days filled with doubts, I will not lie. There are many such days when I question myself if I have made the right choice. If I had let go of this dream, I may have a more peaceful life than I have now. But it doesn’t last very long, I need only think about one child, one student, or simply my younger self, and all these doubts would disappear in the clouds. 

Time flies and it’s been three years now. Honestly, I’m rocking in what I do! The first few months were indeed painful, emotionally and physically. The cries and noise level you hear every day in school, makes you wonder, are there only fifty children? It sounded as if there are more than a hundred of them here. And the backache, oh how I wish I am born shorter. I am 1.61 metres tall and bending down so often in a day to talk to your children at their eye level is more painful than having your worst menstrual cramps. But all these are not going to stop me from continuing in this journey. It is hard, but because it is so hard, I have come to treasure it even more. 

Being a teacher has taught me how to live better. I learnt to appreciate the little things in life. I used to complain of how little I have but now even with lesser money, smaller house and cheaper clothes, I am a happier and satisfied human being. How much does a person really need in life? Of course, many would question my thinking or even go to the extent of ridiculing my sanity. I lost count of the days I tried and tried to explain the reasons I had to take on this pathway of becoming a ‘teacher’ but it has come to no avail. 

Fortunately, or unfortunately, their opinions do not really matter anymore because I have learnt to be more self-reliant. People judge you, like it or not. To take on a road less travelled by most would certainly attract a lot of objections. If I let them take me down, all my hard work will be wasted not because they are right, but because I did not persevere. Perseverance is more important than passion. You can have lots of passion in your life but without perseverance your dreams will never come true. Teachers are underpaid, undervalued and underappreciated. So, why be a teacher? 

I enjoy teaching because I want my children, my students to experience a joyful learning. Throughout my life, I have had only a handful of teachers who truly teach and inspired me to learn. The rest are sadly taking on this job because they don’t know what else they can do, have been turned down other job applications, attracted to the civil benefits, or think of it as an easy job to pass their time. I remember one who was honoured the title Datin in the middle of my secondary school years. Don’t get me wrong. She has lovable character but as a teacher, she fails miserably. She comes into class to chat and most have no relations to the subject she is meant to teach. 

Life as a teacher is not an easy road but I truly have no regrets. Every day, I wake up with newly charged energy in me, anxiously waiting to meet the children and finding new discoveries with them. Watching them grow, talk instead of blab, run instead of crawl, gives me this warmth feeling. Hugging them is perhaps the most enjoyable thing I can hope for in life. Seeing the smiles on their faces makes me forget all the pain that I have been through and still am taking on. It’s all worth it. My life is full.