Sometimes when I get tired of teaching, I wonder whether the whole thing is worth it. In every class the back row is filled with students (“tourists” as we called them when I was a student in Greece) who play games on their mobiles, chat in whispers or simply daydream, thinking that I have never been a student myself and that I am so old that I can’t see them or hear them. On days like these I wonder whether I should give up.
But then I remember the good things. After the first lesson of the new term four weeks ago, a young man whom I have taught for the last three terms came over to my office. He had been depressed throughout last year, attended erratically, did only the absolute minimum of written work and had repeatedly told me how he felt that there was no point in studying and that the whole of life was a dead-end. I had tried to help him be more positive, as had many counsellors, but without success.
He looked changed now. He came in smiling brightly, saying that he had got a job teaching English, was preparing for an international exam and had never felt so positive in his life before! Although I hadn’t had anything to do with his transformation, the fact that he came to share it with me reminded me that I should count myself lucky to have witnessed one of the many miracles that can, and do, happen.
Maybe teaching is worth it after all.