I was never a teacher let alone ever dreamed or desired of ever becoming one. If you’ve had the patience to scroll past through my previous blog posts, you’d be familiar at how daunting teaching for the first time was for me, especially in this new learning set-up. It’s been over a year and balancing my main job with handling major Psychology classes have not been an easy feat. Below are some of the things I’ve learned most from the experience.
Teaching is NOT for everyone
I believe there are people tailor-made for this job and definitely, I don’t see myself as one of them. Teaching requires a huge amount of patience and confidence. And while I do have the great ability to spread myself thin, I for one am not so confident to face people for a lengthy time. What the students don’t really see is the anxiety I feel whenever I need to show myself up online. I practice breathing exercises beforehand every single time I need to conduct a class while I clench my shaking fists behind the screen after a surge of nervous emotions come over me. Mostly, I’m frequently questioning myself on whether I’ve given the right material or not. Have I made things simpler to understand? Did the information I have given come across as I expected it to be? Well, those are just some of my constant worries. At the end of the day, I’m thoroughly convinced that there are persons made especially for this and with that I only have mad respect for them.
Make the best out of what is available
With the global pandemic causing major restrictions, the resources and activities available for class are tad bit limited. Classes only happen online and though we have technology and the internet to be thankful for, I can’t help but say just how limiting online classes are. There are no face-to-face interactions, activities and exercises are mostly reliant on outputs and data. Simply, it has its constraints. Having taught for a year, I learned we’ve got to make do with what we have at this time. I for one, spend my days on my computer for several hours a day browsing through materials that could help classes increase interaction and make things feel less impersonal. True enough, it’s always best to maximize the medium that is available and practice creativity in every way.
It is NOT without a struggle
Days I spent working behind the screen made work-life balance an immense challenge. For once, the boundary between home and work has been blurred and now, it’s as if my 8-5 isn’t at all enough. I find myself working for hours more even after taking much-needed breaks. Teaching in the new normal, is NOT without a struggle. And it’s not just about the internet or social media anymore, but it’s the wrestle to keep our mental health in tiptop shape. As a “teacher”, I do my best to keep classes less stressful than they already are all while trying my hardest not to compromise learning. Believe me, we all are grappling with personal struggles we try to keep at bay. My students’ concerns and best interests are what I place most, front and center. Sometimes, being kind to oneself and others would be the best to do now. It’s a good reminder that even at this circumstance, kindness will always have a way to shine through.
I’ve grown by a LOT!
If there’s one thing teaching has taught me most, it’s that I saw how much I’ve grown a lot over the past year. I’d like to say passing on knowledge to others have matured me in some way but it’s mostly how I’ve managed to prove myself wrong time and again. My doubts and hesitations always come first after a major leap in life but I find myself looking back and realized that I can do it, after all. Even with a day job, a side hustle and passing my Master’s comprehensive examinations? I did it all, still. I’ve become more organized and learned how to compartmentalize my life in portions.
This season of my life, I believe, is what God has given me to prune me most in my career journey. It’s not pretty, glamorous, comfortable but what’s a journey without it, right?