A short one about gratitude

I have good students. I actually have wonderful students. Not only are they clever, they are also well-behaved and nice. Obviously, there are some that are occasionally disruptive, but that’s ok. They mean well; they are excited about something so they giggle and chat when they shouldn’t. They are also forgetful but that’s natural; I also forget about things that are not too important for me. And it’s not just their fault that something seems unimportant to them. 
I always shudder when I hear stories of students who send their teachers to hell. It’s hard to believe that the only thing the teacher can do is survive the lesson. I hear stories of students who put their feet on the desks, sleep or even smoke grass (if they ever come to school). They are rude or refuse to do anything at all.
I’m lucky. I’ve never had such students and I’ve never actually seen a class like that. But I have friends who go through this every day. It would kill me if I couldn’t do what I love; if I couldn’t experiment, explore and pass on my passion. You can only teach English or any subject to kids who listen and pay attention. There’s no point in talking about the best way the present perfect is learnt in a class where the kids don’t care.
So I should be grateful because my students enable me to live my life happily. They allow me to fulfil my dreams. Although I sometimes forget how lucky I am and I start complaining, deep inside I know that I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. I know that instead of grumbling I should be thankful for every single moment I spend with my classes.
I have another problem though; most of the time I get too excited about my students and my job in general. And I’m not sure if it’s good to love my job and my students unconditionally. They’re not my own kids after all and I’m not their parent or even a relative. I need to repeat this over and over again to myself because I don’t want to get hurt and end up bitterly disappointed. Expectations can get too high and any failure can be taken personally. Burn-out is always imminent.
The truth is that I’ve always seen burn-out as an imbalance between output and input – especially with regard to emotions. If you work too hard and love too much you need somebody to appreciate it and give something back to you. Whenever I feel I’m on the verge of self-pity or grievance, I stop and think for a while. And I usually decide to be happy with what I’ve got even if it’s not what I expected ….

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About Hana Tichá

I'm an EFL teacher based in the Czech Republic. I've been teaching English to learners of all ages for more than 20 years. I love metaphors and inspiring discussions concerning teaching, learning and linguistics.
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