I was once one of the many fresh graduates who found themselves in a “lost” situation after graduation and earning their much awaited professional license. I’m a nurse by the way. And after the board exam, I had my first taste of the reality most nurses and other professionals face in our country: UNEMPLOYMENT.
It had been a hard time, a seemingly distraught stage for me who had always depended on the money my parents gave me. After having R.N. attached after my name, I wondered “WHAT’S NEXT?”. I wondered where will I get money for my daily expenses (I did not want to become a burden to my parents anymore by asking money. My other sideline jobs such as promotional activities and “modelling” are just seasonal and aren’t much of help).
That was when I decided I needed to get a job. Most of my batch mates became call center agents, insurance agents and medical representatives. They said they have good salary for those jobs. ( But I felt I’m not fit for such). So I asked a close friend what else am I good at. He told me “TALKING and MAKING PEOPLE UNDERSTAND and FOLLOW YOUR WORDS.” (Well, yes. I’m really good at those things. The power of words, indeed). Then he told me why don’t I try to apply as an ENGLISH TEACHER (some of our classmates took this kind of job too). I was hesitant at first until a teacher in one of the ENGLISH SCHOOLS FOR KOREAN STUDENTS in our city brought me in for an exam and an interview. BOOM!
That started my journey as an ENGLISH TEACHER.
Eight hours/day, five days/week. My schedule was fully packed then. I was assigned to teach grammar, speech and spelling classes. Gosh, my first week had been quite hard and a real adjustment process. Being the youngest in the bunch and a certified newbie in the field, my seniors had been really supportive and helpful. They gave me pointers on how to handle my students and easy ways on how to tackle the lessons. They were always there to guide me whenever I encounter any difficulties. They even had me observe their classes if I had some free time so I an learn how to interact with the students and also get some ideas with their teaching strategies. Even our “strict” Korean Manager offered to help me out if I have issues with the lessons or the students. I really appreciated the help they gave me back then.
I admit. At first I just did it all to provide solution to my financial issues and to save money for nursing trainings and seminars. I never thought that I’d find myself enjoying my job, BUT I DID. As the days passed by, it became not just a means to an end but something of greater worth and satisfaction.
It wasn’t easy at all. I encountered several issues as well such as dealing with “beginners” ,the very young and the very old. (My youngest student was 5 years old and the oldest was in his 70’s). It was really frustrating when one of my students can’t get the lessons no matter what I do. (Well,that’s part of the job). But whenever one of my “beginners” totally understand the lesson after how many days of intensive discussions and then they express their gratitude because I did not give up on them, it gives me such an overwhelming feeling. My efforts weren’t rendered futile.
Then after some time, I became a private English tutor. The pay was a little higher than my previous job. And the working hours aren’t that long.
It had also been a learning experience in my part. I became better in dealing with the students. I developed my own style of teaching (thanks to my previous experience). My interactions with my students became more natural. It was as if we we’re just having normal conversations but I still felt their respect to me as their teacher.
As a teacher, I felt how the students value their education. (The same way as I did when I was a student). I knew that it is A MUST that the teacher should help them attain the knowledge that they seek and guide them along the way. I realized that they came all the way here in the Philippines to learn “English’ not just because of the lower cost of learning, but because they believe in the capabilities of the Filipino English teachers. Who am I to disappoint them? That is why I always give my very best in every lesson, in every subject everyday to quench my students thirst for knowledge.
BUT nothing lasts forever, they say. Even good things must come to an end. No matter how much I had been enjoying my job as an English teacher, I had to leave and get back on my real profession as a NURSE.
Currently, I am working as a nurse in Riyadh for almost two years now. I am glad that I was able to make use of the things I learned in college. After all, that’s why I took up nursing in the first place. But there are times when I miss my life as a teacher. I miss dealing with the students. I miss preparing lesson plans everyday and preparing examinations. I miss all of those little things.
I even asked some of my previous co-teachers if I can still teach again if I come home next year. Well, I’m really hoping I can. Because I realized that aside from being a nurse, I also want to be a teacher.
A teacher who guides her students and never gives up on them, a teacher who encourages them to do well as individuals, a teacher who not only aims to be heard but to be understood and a teacher who listens. Yes, I want to be that teacher.
I’m Proud to be a NURSE, and I’m also proud to be a TEACHER.
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