What do you like least about teaching?

You probably have a lot of questions about what it means to be a teacher. You may be wondering if it’s a right fit for you. Is teaching challenging? The answer is yes.

If you were to ask me today, after 3 years of teaching, What do you like least about teaching?, I’d say teaching is time-consuming. There’s a solution to this. I just haven’t mastered it yet. 

I’ve struggled with teaching because I haven’t been in the same school or same grade level every year. Causing me to change curriculums and texts every time since each school and grade level requires something different. 

The first couple of years of teaching, I struggled with classroom management—making sure everyone was in their seat, paying attention, and being respectful while I taught a lesson.

Just when I thought I had teaching under control, I realized that lesson planning continued to be a struggle. I never seemed to have the lessons plans prepared weeks in advance. I always had them ready just on time. 

Not to mention that teaching during a pandemic has added more challenges because it required me to use different formats of learning and adjust to new guidelines such as for attendance and grading.

I wonder if after I accumulate enough lesson plans for different grade levels and stick with my current school, will the time-consuming aspect of teaching no longer be a problem since I’ll be better prepared? Only time will tell. 

What I want to leave you with is this, I think that my least favorite parts of teaching have always been the things that I haven’t mastered yet. And the solution for that is experience.  As the years go by, we have to opportunity to grow. If every year you work on improving a specific area in your teaching, the next year you can focus on something else. 

An Unexpected, Meaningful, and Unforgettable Ending

When I found out that one of my students was no longer on my attendance roster, I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it because school is over next week. This student taught me something about endings: endings can become unexpected at any moment.

I was not prepared to see him go because I thought that, as is typical with the end of the school year, my students and I would part on the same day for our summer breaks. So this kiddo got his special time of grieving from me.

I saw this student transform from a student who didn’t complete his assignments to a student that did, from a student who I constantly called out for behavior problems to a student who greeted me enthusiastically as he arrived to class.

Why this student was no longer on my roster, I didn’t find out until this week. He never told me he was moving. When I asked his classmates why he left school, they said that they didn’t know. It turns out that he’s now doing online school.

What this student will never know is that when I was a first-year teacher, he was part of the first set of students I taught. This will make that particular set of students unforgettable. These students taught me how to be a better teacher, how to be patient and firm, and how to set high expectations.

I saw this student on an almost-daily basis for 1.5 years. He became like family.

The motherly quality about being a teacher is that you always wish the best for your students as if they are you own children. You wish to protect them from pain they may encounter in the future.

So the loss of one student before the end of the school year hit me hard. It was an unexpected, meaningful, and unforgettable ending.

What Happens When You Have More than One Passion?

I never thought this would happen to me. I found myself at a crossroads: the calling to be a teacher and the calling to be a writer. All along, the crossroads was an illusion.

In my limited mentality, I thought that I could only be loyal to one passion. You always hear of that saying: follow your passion not follow your passions. I thought that when the time came, I would have to pick one over the other. Just today, I have learned that this is not the case.

I found myself listening to Elizabeth Gilbert on Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast (the “Elizabeth Gilbert: The Curiosity-Driven Life” episode). In this episode, she talks about how after she became famous for her book Eat, Pray, Love, she started giving speeches about how her passion for writing led to her success.

While Elizabeth kept preaching follow your passion, follow your passion, one listener one day admitted that she’d never had a passion. She told Elizabeth that she felt like a total failure after listening to her speech.

Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

This led Elizabeth to rethink the way she delivered her message. Now instead of saying follow your passion she believes in follow your curiosity.

I don’t find myself without a passion. I find myself with two passions, but Elizabeth’s message of follow your curiosity came at the moment when I needed to hear it.

I’ve been feeling like I need to either be a teacher or be a writer. That I can’t be both.

On the days when I’m too tired from a long day of work and don’t have the energy to be a writer, I feel like I let myself down. On the days when I feel like pursuing my writing dreams selfishly, I feel guilt for wanting to let go of my job as a teacher in the future.

Listening to the podcast freed me and opened my eyes into seeing the bigger picture: There’s no need for me to only be the teacher or only be the writer. I can be both and as long as I want to be and however I choose to be both.

The saying follow your passion brings the problem of not knowing which passion to hold on to and which one to let go of. But it was never about letting go of one passion in pursuit of the other. It was always about staying curious and letting curiosity lead us with or without our passions.

In the podcast, Elizabeth shares a poem by Hafiz that resonated with me and that I want to share in this post.

April 20, 2019, Tuesday


“The Place Where You Are Now”

by Hafiz

This place where you are right now
God circled on a map for you.

Wherever your eyes and arms and heart can move
Against the earth and the sky,
The Beloved has bowed there –

Our Beloved has bowed there knowing
You were coming.

I could tell you a priceless secret about
Your real worth, dear pilgrim,

But any unkindness to yourself,
Any confusion about others,

Will keep one
From accepting the grace, the love,

The sublime freedom
Divine knowledge always offers to you.

Never mind, Hafiz, about
The great requirements this path demands
Of the wayfarers,

For your soul is too full of wine tonight
To withhold the wondrous Truth from this world.

But because I am so clever and generous,
I have already clearly woven a resplendent lock
Of his tresses

As a remarkable truth and gift
In this poem for you.

~Hafiz

Translation by Daniel Ladinsky, The Subject Tonight Is Love


Today’s Source of Writing Inspiration: