During my secondary school years, a Teachers' Day was a special occasion which called for glue and glitter. I would sit around, creating cards and handicrafts from pieces of construction paper, sensitive to how I couldn't afford gifts. Other students would buy chocolates and sea salt and miniature soft toys and roses. I could only make cards, wishing that these flimsy papers were enough.
Now that I am a teacher, I realise that my secondary school teachers weren't lying. Everyone appreciates handwritten notes over chocolates (which they could have bought themselves).
My students don't understand how much energy it takes to care for them, to discipline them. The truth is that I get so worked up sometimes that I can't sleep and eat properly. It's decorum and dignity and life skills and values that I'm teaching. They, in their youthful bubble of invincibility, can't appreciate how draining it is to guide them on the proper path.
Not only do teachers have to deal with students, they have to deal with parents as well. I have parents who told me to control their children, who hinted that they have degrees and not to lie to them, who insinuated that I'm not fit to care for their children.
It's hard - impossible, sometimes - to remember that there is a purpose to the daily frenzy. Rushing from corner to corner, answering calls from different mothers, finding that one form for that one student who manages to lose everything. The truth is that we are teachers but many students treat us as maids. It's not possible to be a maid to 160+++ students at one go.
It is with much gratitude that I read the following poems and notes from lovely, lovely students.
It's selfish and unprofessional and irrational, but how I wish that every day can be a Teachers' Day.
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