Reflective practice : Happy Teachers' Day!


                                                         
This post is dedicated to all teachers and educators all over the world , mainly to my PLN (professional learning network) , teachers and educators who I honour , respect,learn from and care and share. A special mention to Malala Yousafazai, the  young brave girl who bravely fights for education and has just won the Nobel Peace Prize 2014


Image created by Roseli Serra 

October is the month when we celebrate Teacher’s Day: On 5th, The World Teacher’s Day and on 15th we celebrate Teacher’s Day in Brazil.
Regarding this celebration, I’d like to share some ideas with you based on what I’ve read, talked and shared with lots of teachers around the world.
No matter how long you are in the market, education is and will always be crucial for the human being character formation. Being a teacher and an educator is much more than just simply know the theories and techniques. It has a philosophical side, considering our responsibility upon our learners and what role(s) we play in our students’ lives.


Image by Ugur Dinçer -from eltpics 


It reminds me of Paulo Freire , a Brazilian educator, who said: 

“The teacher is of course an artist, but being an artist does not mean that he or she can make the profile, can shape the students. What the educator does in teaching is to make it possible for the students to become themselves.”
(Paulo Freire, We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change)

Image by @sandymillin -from eltpics

When I recently read it again, I started to think about how much we teachers have been able to do in order to make the difference and shape our students’ lives in some way.  After all,  the world has changed, it’s in permanent change and we and our students are part of this brave new world. I have changed. I'm older, more impatient, more critical, and sometimes I feel weak and tired to face students’ lack of interest and parents’ lack of care about their children.  Recently I've found myself complaining about a particular group of 10-11 year old students and I realised that for the first time in my life I have such a difficult group to deal with regarding everything: impoliteness, lack of interest and responsibility and very few parents concerned about their children behaviour and learning process. What’s important is the final result, the final grade: pass or fail, no matter if they have learned or not.  This conversation was like group therapy in the teacher’s room where other brilliant and experienced teachers were having the same kind of complaints.  We had the need to talk and share. A teacher was almost crying. She was so disappointed and feeling deeply sad. 

In Brazil we teachers are underpaid.  Yes, we are, even if you work in the richest  school which pays the best salary, still you are underpaid. It’s the Brazilian educational system and the society that not value teachers as they should be valued.  I've heard from lots of colleagues they are looking for another alternative to survive apart from teaching. And to tell you the truth, I've thought about it many times as well.


Image by @ceririannon -from eltpics


Being a very optimistic person you must be surprised I'm writing these words.  Well, I've never said teaching is a bed of roses or that it’s only darkness and pain. No! Not at all!

And yes, we have to study to teach, to teach and learn, go to conferences,  prepare lessons, correct workbooks and students’ compositions, deal with discipline, contact parents, prepare and correct tests, face endless meetings, find nice activities to engage students, write comments on report cards and an endless list of duties. Not to mention the fact that most of us around the world have to deal with low salaries to survive.

Image by Hana Tichá - from eltpics


Well, I have said too much already about how hard being a teacher is.  I want to talk about the joy of being a teacher, because the suffering of being a teacher is similar to suffering the pains of childbirth: The joy of giving birth to a child does not compare to the pain we suffered before, which it’s quickly forgotten. And then you'l have the hard and delightful job to raise your child with love and care. What a job! 

Being a teacher is indeed one of the most rewarding jobs ever. How can we forget students who hug you, bring you flowers, a bar of chocolate or simply smile sweetly? What about when you meet former students, and years later and they recognise you, come to you and say: ‘She was one of the best teachers I've had”.  Not to mention those very few students who became  teachers because of you? I have some who are now my colleagues working at the same school.  It’s priceless and I'm one of those cases. I became a teacher inspired by my second grade teacher (see the photo below) who passed away less than two years ago and who I had the pleasure to meet after 38 years.   How wonderful!

Image from Roseli Serra personal files


Teaching is a treat for the soul, isn't it? If it is not, we should not teach.  And if it is, then it is necessary that, ideally, our learners feel the same pleasure from our teaching. If not, perhaps we have failed our mission in some way, as the cook who intended to offer pleasure, but the food was too salty or burnt.  Perhaps it’s time to stop and reflect our mission as educators and teachers. Perhaps it's time for another change. 

But if you were born to be a teacher and if you love what to do, you will not give up. Like me, you’ll insist on teaching and educating people.

Someone once said:  “A master is born from the exuberance of happiness”. So when asked about their profession, teachers should be brave enough to say "I am a pastor of joy ..."
But, of course, only your students can attest the truth of this statement.
Last but not least: “Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”  (Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed).

Image by Hana Tichá - from eltpics



Enjoy your teaching! 
Happy teacher’s Day!  

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

nice blog

Ana Maria Menezes said...

Dear, Roseli. You are always so inspiring! It's great to hear yourself reading someone else's words and feel like their own. I know you won't give up, dear. These ups and downs are just a small part of such a wonderful path we've chosen to take. BJOS.

Roseli Serra said...

Thank you so much for your words, my dear friend Ana! You are one of the sources of inspirations for my teaching. And you know how much!
Happy Teachers´ Day, sweet!

Beijão e abraço apertado :)

Vocab Monk said...

great blog :)

Anonymous said...

I often ask myself why I feel so terrible when I'm not working as a teacher. You can imagine that teaching English in the UK is a precarious profession with little value placed on 'EFL' teachers. Personally I work on a zero-hours contract and my wage amounts to less than the basic. minimum in the UK. However, I keep coming back for more and ask myself why? I think it is what you refer to as some people are born to be teachers and that is just the way it is, probably best to accept that and not try and fight it :) I think it is best to remember that teaching is a vocation not a profession, and if it is for you then it is for you. Like you said you have colleagues that have considered other options outside teaching, you have and I have too but somehow those other options just don't do it for me nor for you I suspect. Great blog post Roseli. :) Rich G

Roseli Serra said...

Hi, RG

Thank you for your precious comment! yes teaching is a vocation. Believe me, I do know how and what you fell. So life gives us choices and we have to embrace those choices the best way we can. However, it's always good and wise to have a plan B. I guess for any job.

Just try to give a rest at your mind and heart and also find pleasure in other things I'm sure you do very well. Once an educator, always an educator!

Best,

Roseli

Anonymous said...

Dear Roseli

I´m an English teacher from Denmark and I´d like to write you a mail...is there a mail address here in the blog I can send you my mail to?
Thanks for your blog.
Best,
Virginia.

Roseli Serra said...

Dear Virginia,

You can write to me via email using roseliswaserra@facebook.com

Regards,

Roseli

Roseli Serra said...

Hi Virginia,

You can contact e via roseliswaserra@facebook.com

Regards,

Roseli

Roseli Serra said...

Hi, Virginia

You can contact me via roseliswaserra@facebook.com

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