It’s not exactly the world’s best paying job (especially in India). It’s definitely not the easiest – you can’t ever be late, you can’t not know the answer to a question directed at you, you can’t really afford to be ill-tempered or impatient and you
often regularly have to deal with people who can’t understand what you are saying.
But it has its perks, though not obvious to most. It’s also one of the most interesting jobs – you get to meet the most eclectic range of people and there is hardly a boring day in the life of a teacher. It’s also immensely rewarding – not just from the metaphysical point of view of seeing your students master the subject (in my case, language since I am a French teacher) and go places, but also from the material sense. 😉
On my monthly cleaning/organising spree, I find myself smiling every few minutes, with fond memories of various batches from 2006. From books and bags (one batch even threatened to buy me a strolley so I could carry all the books I wanted without damaging my back) to mugs and other memorabilia, every nook and corner of my house has something gifted to me by students…
The copy of Le Petit Prince (in English) gifted by my first group, followed by several other books and gift vouchers for bookstores.
The coffee mug gifted my very first corporate group, or the one with a beautiful scene from Kenya.
The little knick-knacks for the house, from elegant serving bowls to the cute little smoking man from Uzbekistan.
The bags, scarves and even jewellery (I am quite pampered really) !
The films, which came in USB drives, CDs and DVDs – I rarely miss a film I want to see.
And then there are the more creative gifts – the hand embroidered towel, the paintings, the crochet bookmark or (most recently) the hearts, inspired by the concept of Russian Dolls – one for each letter of my name, with a corresponding adjective written inside.
How can I forget the chocolates, cakes, flowers and the cards ? Teachers Day, Guru Purnima, my birthday or the end of a class. I have a box full or cards from students – Archie’s, Hallmark, or the hand-made variety – with the ubiquitous “thanks” of course, but also the cute, thoughtful and crazy messages. One of my favourite cards was gifted by a batch just before I left for France in 2009. A gigantic card in which they all wrote every silly thing uttered by them (and me) in the four months we spent together.
Every gift, every card, every anecdote comes with so many fond memories that by the time I am done with my cleaning, I am smiling not just with the pleasure of a clean house, but also the memories.
The perks, as I said, are many.P.S If you enjoyed reading this post, don’t miss the “The little joys (and laughs) of teaching.”