It has been a long time—too long—since I wrote The Perks of Being a Teacher / Part 1: Students. It was always in the back of my mind that one day I should and would sit down to write about the co-workers I had the privilege of working with as a teacher, which made teaching so much more meaningful and fun.
I believe there is a special kinship that forms between teachers as we go through similar issues: students who are acting up, parents who complain or blame, administrative officers who are not cooperative, classroom management, government requirements, the list is pretty much unending.
There’s something special about suffering together that bonds people faster and closer than a life of no worries. And trust me, the life of an average teacher is rife with reasons to worry or stress. But because there is such a rich mix of experiences, personalities, and methods of teaching by different teachers that we support and learn from each other in unique ways. So, yes, suffering brings us together. 😉
But trust me, we also know how to have fun! I loved having co-workers who were humble enough to share in suffering yet also knew how to cheer each other up. Even a short meeting at the photocopy machine or the blessed lunch break would be enough to refuel us. We would sometimes share crazy stuff that happened in our classes, a sweet comment by a student, or go on about our own inside jokes that might have started as we co-led some school event.
At the two schools I worked at, going out or hanging out in someone’s house was a regular way of letting off steam. At one particular school, I especially bonded with this friend with whom we would have impromptu meal dates, short trip dates, and music jamming dates.
I guess what I am trying to say is that as a teacher, I felt that my co-workers were not just co-workers. They were like brothers and sisters; friends; empathy-givers. Our relationship was strengthened all the more because we all had the mentality of serving to the best of our ability. No one was just trying to “put in hours.” We all had the common goal of providing the best sort of education we could to the best of our ability.
We all had our own share of weaknesses and lazy sides, but the engine of love for students was one and the same, and there was always something to learn from each other.
So, here is to all my fellow teachers, who laughed and cried with me, listened and shared with me, learned with me and taught me: thank you and I love you!