A Letter to My Teacher Self
“Teaching was the hardest work I had ever done, and it remains the hardest work I have done to date.”
-Ann Richards (Former Texas governor and Teacher)
Hey Jon! Errrr…. Mr. Espiritu… Wait, Sir Jon. Yeah that’s it. You have been teaching for what? Six years? Wow, that is kinda long mate! Now you are trying to earn your teaching license, slowly but surely. Well, I just want to tell you that you are doing a great job teaching young minds. I admire you for being a parent to your two kids and 150 plus more kids. That is one helluva job Sir Jon. I cannot even imagine myself taking care of a single toddler more so a hundred fifty of them. I admire you for your tenacity to encourage those kids. I like the fact that you go the distance in reminding them to go to class and I love your way of thinking that all of them will achieve something in the future. That was your mantra ever since you started teaching, right? Your kids and students are lucky to have you mate.
Come on man, I have seen your grade sheets. You can’t lie to me. I have seen like seven kids who flunked your subject. Yeah! Don’t dare lecture me about the difference between a subject and a program. Damn it, you are teaching senior high school kids so technically they flunked your SUBJECT! Anyway, do not feel bad you flunked them. Remember, you reminded them to attend your class a gazillion times. You even went the distance in calling the attention of the guidance office but still they did not heed your advice and your reminders. It is not your fault. You devised strategies that will help them but still, nothing.
Also, do not feel bad about those “teachers” who are power tripping. Those who find glee in failing their students. Them who like seeing red marks on their grade sheets and making stupid ass remarks like “Ang bobo kase!” or “Tatamad eh!” Those so-called mentors in your institution that did nothing to inculcate knowledge. They who tried to educate the mind without educating their students’ heart. Come on man, ain’t your fault. However, yeah, I agree with you. I pity those kids that took their classes. But it is out of your hands now dude. It shows how unprofessional they are. Their loss man, not yours. Drop ‘em.
Find happiness in the fact that you’re doing your best to become a better teacher and person for your future students. I would want to be in your class. Because it is safe. I have seen you defend your students repeatedly. I have felt how you tried to make your classroom as homey as possible. That is admirable. You tried. Good job Sir. I feel that your parents and daughters are proud of you. Being a teacher is no easy task. Salary is way low but you learned how to manage your expenses. It is not as financially gratifying but hell man, look, you are happy. Teaching makes you feel good and that is cool. I have seen the private messages your students sent you. They were thanking you and I felt your heart jump with joy and relief.
As this semester ends, sit back. Hold that cold bottle of beer and enjoy doing your research. But, prepare because the next chapter of your teaching career will start in two months’ time.
The not so teacher self Jon
Jonathan Espiritu is a college professor and a registered nutritionist-dietitian by profession. He is a dad to two little princesses and a tattoo enthusiast.
(Photo credit: maiagonzales)